About this topic
Summary According to modal non-cognitivism, the function of modal discourse is not descriptive but normative. At a first pass, the view is that to regard a proposition as necessary is to commit to holding it fixed in counterfactual reasoning. Accordingly, it may be denied that modal sentences are truth-apt. The view closely mirrors non-cognitivism in meta-ethics, and many of the same arguments can be applied in both moral and modal cases. 
Key works Modal non-cognitivism can be traced back to Hume 1738Thomasson 2007, Blackburn 1993 and Price 1997 outline sophisticated contemporary versions of expressivism about modality.
Introductions Thomasson 2007
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22 found
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  1. The Inaugural Address: Kantian Modality: Tom Baldwin.Tom Baldwin - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):1–24.
    Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...)
  2. The Inaugural Address: Kantian Modality.Tom Baldwin - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76:1 - 24.
    Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...)
  3. Expression, Truth, and Reality : Some Variations on Themes From Wright.Dorit Bar-On - 2012 - In Crispin Wright & Annalisa Coliva (eds.), Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge: Themes From the Philosophy of Crispin Wright. Oxford University Press.
    Expressivism, broadly construed, is the view that the function of utterances in a given area of discourse is to give expression to our sentiments or other (non-cognitive) mental states or attitudes, rather than report or describe some range of facts. This view naturally seems an attractive option wherever it is suspected that there may not be a domain of facts for the given discourse to be describing. Familiarly, to avoid commitment to ethical facts, the ethical expressivist suggests that ethical utterances (...)
  4. Being Good: An Introduction to Ethics.Simon Blackburn - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    From political scandals at the highest levels to inflated repair bills at the local garage, we are seemingly surrounded with unethical behavior, so why should we behave any differently? Why should we go through life anchored down by rules no one else seems to follow? Writing with wit and elegance, Simon Blackburn tackles such questions in this lively look at ethics, highlighting the complications and doubts and troubling issues that spring from the very simple question of how we ought to (...)
  5. Essays in Quasi-Realism.Simon Blackburn - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume collects some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn, one of our leading philosophers, explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgments relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that (...)
  6. Morals and Modals.Simon Blackburn - 1993 - In Essays in Quasi-Realism. Oxford University Press.
  7. From Empiricism to Expressivism.Robert B. Brandom - 2015 - Harvard University Press.
  8. Caution and Necessity.José Edgar González Varela - 2013 - Manuscrito 36 (2):229-261.
    In this paper I examine Crispin Wright's modal anti-realism as based on the availability of a certain attitude of Caution towards judgements of necessity. I think that Wright's account should be attractive in several ways for modal theorists with an anti-realist bend. However, the attitude of Caution to which it appeals has attracted some controversy. Wright himself has later come to doubt whether Caution is ultimately coherent. Here I first address Wright's worries concerning the coherence of Caution and show that (...)
  9. On Some Arguments for the Necessity of Necessity.Bob Hale - 1999 - Mind 108 (429):23-52.
    Must we believe in logical necessity? I examine an argument for an affirmative answer given by Ian McFetridge in his posthumously published paper 'Logical Necessity: Some Issues', and explain why it fails, as it stands, to establish his conclusion. I contend, however, that McFetridge's argument can be effectively buttressed by drawing upon another argument aimed at establishing that we ought to believe that some propositions are logically necessary, given by Crispin Wright in his paper 'Inventing Logical necessity'. My contention is (...)
  10. Expressivism and the Syntactic Uniformity of Declarative Sentences.Max Kölbel - 1997 - Critica 29 (87):3–51.
    Expressivism is most widely known as a thesis that semantically complements non-cognitivism in meta-ethics: if there are no moral facts to be known, if moral judgements or statements are not capable of being true or false, then the meaning of morally evaluative sentences cannot centrally consist in their having a truth conditional content, expressing a truth-evaluable proposition. But since the truth conditional approach to meaning is widely accepted, non-cognitivists are called upon to offer an alternative theory of meaning for moral (...)
  11. Explaining Necessity.Richard V. Mason - 1990 - Metaphilosophy 21 (4):382-390.
  12. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics.Stephen K. McLeod - 2001 - Ashgate.
    Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...)
  13. Modality Without Metaphysics: A Metalinguistic Approach to Possibility.Toby Meadows - unknown
    An account of modality is produced which takes as its foundation the idea that modal concepts are parasitic upon our background theoretical commitments. This position is distinguished from the majority of philosophies of modality, which are either primitivist or reductionist. It is in this sense that our account is less burdened by metaphysics. The primary purpose of the document is to demonstrate that our approach is a coherent one. It supports this claim in three stages. First, we identify the historical (...)
  14. A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality, by Andrea Borghini. [REVIEW]T. Parent - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):204-204.
  15. Naturalism and the Fate of the M-Worlds: Huw Price.Huw Price - 1997 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):247–268.
    Like coastal cities in the third millennium, important areas of human discourse seem threatened by the rise of modern science. The problem isn't new, of course, or wholly unwelcome. The tide of naturalism has been rising since the seventeenth century, and the rise owes more to clarity than to pollution in the intellectual atmosphere. All the same, the regions under threat are some of the most central in human life--the four Ms, for example: Morality, Modality, Meaning and the Mental. Some (...)
  16. Criteria and Necessity.Richard Rorty - 1973 - Noûs 7 (4):313-327.
  17. Modal Normativism and the Methods of Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):135-160.
  18. A Note on Morato on Modality and Explanation.Nathan Wildman - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):967-974.
    This brief note critically assesses the central arguments in Morato’s recent contribution to the growing literature on Blackburn’s dilemma about necessity. In particular, I demonstrate that neither of Morato’s two novel reconstructions of the dilemma’s contingency horn succeed, since both turn on false premises; and, Morato fails to adequately motivate his own response to these reconstructions. The upshot is that Morato has set himself a pair of flawed problems, then offered a flawed solution.
  19. Pragmatism, Minimalism, Expressivism.Michael Williams - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):317-330.
    Although contemporary pragmatists tend to be sympathetic to expressivist accounts of moral, modal and other problematic vocabularies, it is not clear that they have any right to be. The problem arises because contemporary pragmatists tend to favour deflationary accounts of truth and reference, thereby seeming to elide the distinction between expressive and repressentational uses of language. To address this problem, I develop a meta-theoretical framework for understanding what is involved in explanations of meaning in terms of use, and why some (...)
  20. Inventing Logical Necessity.Crispin Wright - 1986 - In Jeremy Butterfield (ed.), Language, Mind and Logic. Cambridge University Press.
  21. Wittgenstein on the Foundations of Mathematics.Crispin Wright - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
  22. How in the World?Stephen Yablo - 1996 - In Christopher Hill (ed.), Philosophical Topics. University of Arkansas Press. pp. 255--86.