A Defense of Descriptive Moral Content

Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):285-300 (2009)
Abstract
Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have recently provided an updated presentation and defense of a metaethical view that they call cognitivist expressivism. Expressivists claim that moral judgments express propositional attitudes that do not represent or describe the external world. Horgan and Timmons agree with this claim, but they also deny the traditional expressivist claim that moral judgments do not express beliefs. On their view, moral judgments are genuine, truth-apt beliefs, thus making their form of expressivism a cognitivist one. In this essay, I argue that Horgan and Timmons have failed to demonstrate that moral judgments express sui generis, nondescriptive content by showing that at least some moral content is descriptive. In addition, I show how the descriptivist can account for those properties that Horgan and Timmons consider distinctive of moral belief. In doing so, I remove one of the expressivist's most important lines of motivation for positing nondescriptive moral content in the first place. At the end of the essay, I briefly sketch a view that I call partial or modest moral realism.
Keywords moral judgment  moral cognitivism  moral expressivism  moral realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,337
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 23 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Brad Majors (2008). Cognitivist Expressivism and the Nature of Belief. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):279 - 293.
Neil Levy (2011). Moore on Twin Earth. Erkenntnis 75 (1):137-146.
Kyle Swan (2004). Moral Judgment and Emotions. Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):375-381.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-14

Total downloads

34 ( #48,627 of 1,096,597 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #50,170 of 1,096,597 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.