Discussion:
  1. Expressivism and Moore's Paradox.Jack Woods - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14:1-12.
    Expressivists explain the expression relation which obtains between sincere moral assertion and the conative or affective attitude thereby expressed by appeal to the relation which obtains between sincere assertion and belief. In fact, they often explicitly take the relation between moral assertion and their favored conative or affective attitude to be exactly the same as the relation between assertion and the belief thereby expressed. If this is correct, then we can use the identity of the expression relation in the two (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
Back    All discussions

2013-09-12
Objection Five?
Hi Jack,

Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing.  And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive.  You respond:

This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the claim that what we're really up to with our moral talk is expressing our attitudes towards various actions, persons, and such has to be seriously tempered. In addition, we need an explanation of when such attitudes are expressed and when they are not.


The important thing here is to note that for an expressivist, your sentences aren't really moral assertions, because they are delivered in a philosophy paper and not in the course of ordinary moralizing. Blackburn in particular takes Wittgenstein very seriously here: take words out of their language-games and you deprive them of their sense.  It is still true that noncognitive mental states are always expressed by moral assertions, but you have to understand what "moral assertion" actually is. For any responsible expressivist, it cannot be a context-free sentence that appears in a philosophy paper, spoken by no one.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more about what you think about this objection, as I take it to be a very powerful challenege to the way expressivist theories are commonly tested.  Surely, if we are interested in what ordinary moral discourse is like, we must investigate that discourse itself, and not discourse that maintains theoretical distance from it.

Cheers,

Nick

 


2013-09-14
Objection Five?
Reply to Nick Smyth
Dear Nick,

   Thanks for the response. I've just sent you an email about it.

Cheers,
Jack