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  1. A Defence of Emotivism.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    As a non-cognitivist analysis of moral language, Charles Stevenson's sophisticated emotivism is widely regarded by moral philosophers as a substantial improvement over its historical antecedent, radical emotivism. None the less, it has come in for its share of criticism. In this essay, Leslie Allan responds to the key philosophical objections to Stevenson's thesis, arguing that the criticisms levelled against his meta-ethical theory rest largely on a too hasty reading of his works.
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  2. A Taxonomy of Meta-Ethical Theories.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The author contends that classifying theories in the field of meta-ethics along a single dimension misses important nuances in each theory. With the increased sophistication and complexity of meta-ethical analyses in the modern era, the traditional cognitivist–non-cognitivist and realist–anti-realist categories no longer function adequately. The author categorizes the various meta-ethical theories along three dimensions. These dimensions focus on the linguistic analysis offered by each theory, its metaphysical commitments and its degree of normative tolerance.
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  3. Meta-Ethics: An Introduction.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Meta-ethics is the area of philosophy in which thinkers explore the language and nature of moral discourse and its relations to other non-moral areas of life. In this introduction to the discipline written explicitly for novices, Leslie Allan outlines the key questions and areas of analysis in contemporary meta-ethics. In clear, tabular format, he summarizes the core concepts integral to each of the major meta-ethical positions and the strengths of each view. To prompt further thinking and reading, Allan explains briefly (...)
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  4. Non-Descriptive Negation for Normative Sentences.Andrew Alwood - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (262):1-25.
    Frege-Geach worries about embedding and composition have plagued metaethical theories like emotivism, prescriptivism and expressivism. The sharpened point of such criticism has come to focus on whether negation and inconsistency have to be understood in descriptivist terms. Because they reject descriptivism, these theories must offer a non-standard account of the meanings of ethical and normative sentences as well as related semantic facts, such as why certain sentences are inconsistent with each other. This paper fills out such a solution to the (...)
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  5. Review of Michael Ridge Impassioned Belief. [REVIEW]Andrew Alwood - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014.
    A critical review of Michael Ridge's book Impassioned Belief.
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  6. Imperative Clauses and the Frege–Geach Problem.Andrew Alwood - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):105-117.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  7. The Problem of Ethical Vagueness for Expressivism.Nicholas Baima - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):593-605.
    Ethical vagueness has garnered little attention. This is rather surprising since many philosophers have remarked that the science of ethics lacks the precision that other fields of inquiry have. Of the few philosophers who have discussed ethical vagueness the majority have focused on the implications of vagueness for moral realism. Because the relevance of ethical vagueness for other metaethical positions has been underexplored, my aim in this paper is to investigate the ramifications of ethical vagueness for expressivism. Ultimately, I shall (...)
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  8. How Expressivists Can and Should Explain Inconsistency.Derek Clayton Baker & Jack Woods - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2):391-424.
    Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...)
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  9. Against a Posteriori Moral Naturalism.David Barnett - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (3):239 - 257.
    A posteriori Moral Naturalism posits a posteriorimoral/naturalistic identities. Versions of this view thatposit necessary identities purport to rely on theKripke/Putnam doctrine of scientific essentialism.Versions that posit only contingent identities requirethat moral terms are non-rigid designators. I argue thatmetaethics does not fall within the scope of scientificessentialism and that moral terms are not non-rigid designators.
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  10. Interrogando a Musonio Rufo sobre el bien y el placer.Pierre Baumann - 2014 - Cadernos Do Pet Filosofia 5 (9):33-39.
    Se examina un argumento de Musonio Rufo sobre la relación entre el placer y el bien moral. In Spanish.
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  11. Brogaard's Moral Contextualism.Lars Binderup - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):410–415.
    Brogaard's non-indexical version of moral contextualism has two related problems. It is unable to account for the function of truth-governed assertoric moral discourse, since it leaves two (semantically clearheaded) disputants without any incentive to resolve seemingly contradictory moral claims. The moral contextualist could explain why people do feel such an incentive by ascribing false beliefs about the semantic workings of their own language. But, secondly, this leaves Brogaard's moral contextualism looking weaker than a Mackie-style invariantist error theory about morals. The (...)
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  12. Contextualism in Ethics.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    In more than one way, context matters in ethics. Uncontroversially, the ethical status of an action might depend on context: though it is typically wrong not to keep a promise, some contexts make it permissible. More controversially, some have suggested that the meaning or truth-conditions of a moral judgment or moral assertion depend not only on the properties of the act it concerns and the context in which it would be performed, but also on features of the context in which (...)
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  13. The Significance of Ethical Disagreement for Theories of Ethical Thought and Talk.Gunnar Björnsson - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 275-291.
    This chapter has two sections, each focusing on a distinct way in which ethical disagreement and variations in ethical judgment matter for theories of ethical thought and talk. In the first section, we look at how the variation poses problems for both cognitivist and non-cognitivist ways of specifying the nature of ethical judgments. In the second, we look at how disagreement phenomena have been taken to undermine cognitivist accounts, but also at how the seeming variation in cognitive and non-cognitive contents (...)
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  14. Contextualism in Ethics.Gunnar Björnsson - 2013 - In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    There are various ways in which context matters in ethics. Most clearly, the context in which an action is performed might determine whether the action is morally right: though it is often wrong not to keep a promise, it might be permissible in certain contexts. More radically, proponents of moral particularism (see particularism) have argued that a reason for an action in one context is not guaranteed to be a reason in a different context: whether it is a reason against (...)
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  15. Metaethical Contextualism Defended.Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Ethics 121 (1):7-36.
    We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...)
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  16. Moral Attitudes for Non-Cognitivists: Solving the Specification Problem.Gunnar Björnsson & Tristram McPherson - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):1-38.
    Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitive attitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitive attitudes corresponding to judgements of moral wrongness, for example, from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples to any informative specification of the (...)
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  17. 'Must', 'Ought' and the Structure of Standards.Gunnar Björnsson & Robert Shanklin - 2014 - In Fabrizio Cariani, Davide Grossi, Joke Meheus & Xavier Parent (eds.), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. Springer. pp. 33–48.
    This paper concerns the semantic difference between strong and weak neces-sity modals. First we identify a number of explananda: their well-known in-tuitive difference in strength between ‘must’ and ‘ought’ as well as differ-ences in connections to probabilistic considerations and acts of requiring and recommending. Here we argue that important extant analyses of the se-mantic differences, though tailored to account for some of these aspects, fail to account for all. We proceed to suggest that the difference between ’ought’ and ’must’ lies (...)
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  18. Motivational Internalism: Contemporary Debates.Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund - 2015 - In Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.), Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–20.
    Motivational internalism—the idea that moral judgments are intrinsically or necessarily connected to motivation—has played a central role in metaethical debates. In conjunction with a Humean picture of motivation, internalism has provided a challenge for theories that take moral judgments to concern objective aspects of reality, and versions of internalism have been seen as having implications for moral absolutism, realism, and rationalism. But internalism is a controversial thesis, and the apparent possibility of amoralists and the rejection of strong forms of internalism (...)
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  19. Disentangling the Thick Concept Argument.Olle Blomberg - 2007 - SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):63-78.
    Critics argue that non-cognitivism cannot adequately account for the existence and nature of some thick moral concepts. They use the existence of thick concepts as a lever in an argument against non-cognitivism, here called the Thick Concept Argument (TCA). While TCA is frequently invoked, it is unfortunately rarely articulated. In this paper, TCA is first reconstructed on the basis of John McDowell’s formulation of the argument (from 1981), and then evaluated in the light of several possible non-cognitivist responses. In general, (...)
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  20. New Waves in Metaethics.Michael Brady (ed.) - 2011 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Metaethics occupies a central place in analytical philosophy, and the last forty years has seen an upsurge of interest in questions about the nature and practice of morality. This collection presents original and ground-breaking research on metaethical issues from some of the very best of a new generation of philosophers working in this field.
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  21. Moral Contextualism and Moral Relativism.Berit Brogaard - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):385 - 409.
    Moral relativism provides a compelling explanation of linguistic data involving ordinary moral expressions like 'right' and 'wrong'. But it is a very radical view. Because relativism relativizes sentence truth to contexts of assessment it forces us to revise standard linguistic theory. If, however, no competing theory explains all of the evidence, perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift. However, I argue that a version of moral contextualism can account for the same data as relativism without relativizing sentence truth to (...)
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  22. The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  23. Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
  24. The Semantics of Moral Communication.Richard Brown - 2008 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, CUNY
    Adviser: Professor Stefan Baumrin In the first chapter I introduce the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics and argue that metaethics, properly conceived, is a part of cognitive science. For example, the debate between rationalism and sentimentalism can be informed by recent empirical work in psychology and the neurosciences. In the second chapter I argue that the traditional view that one’s theory of semantics determines what one’s theory of justification must be is mistaken. Though it has been the case that (...)
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  25. Right-Making, Reference, and Reduction.Michael Byron - 2014 - Disputatio 6 (38):139-145.
    The causal theory of reference (CTR) provides a well-articulated and widely-accepted account of the reference relation. On CTR the reference of a term is fixed by whatever property causally regulates the competent use of that term. CTR poses a metaethical challenge to realists by demanding an account of the properties that regulate the competent use of normative predicates. CTR might pose a challenge to ethical theorists as well. Long argues that CTR entails the falsity of any normative ethical theory. First-order (...)
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  26. Unity and Autonomy in Expressivist Logic.John Cantwell - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):443-457.
    It is argued that expressivists can solve their problems in accounting for the unity and autonomy of logic – logic is topic independent and does not derive from a general ‘logic’ of mental states – by adopting an analysis of the logical connectives that takes logically complex sentences to express complex combinations of simple attitudes like belief and disapproval and dispositions to form such simple attitudes upon performing suppositional acts, and taking acceptance and rejection of sentences to be the common (...)
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  27. Attitudes, Deontics and Semantic Neutrality.Fabrizio Cariani - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):491-511.
    It has been recently suggested that a semantic theory for deontic modals should be neutral between a very large range of normative and evaluative theories. This article aims to clarify this talk of neutrality, in particular its scope and motivation. My thesis is that neutrality is best understood as an empirical thesis about a fragment of natural language that includes deontic modals – not as a new, sui generis methodological constraint on natural language semantics.
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  28. Deliberative Modality Under Epistemic Uncertainty.Fabrizio Cariani, Magdalena Kaufmann & Stefan Kaufmann - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (3):225-259.
    We discuss the semantic significance of a puzzle concerning ‘ought’ and conditionals recently discussed by Kolodny and MacFarlane. We argue that the puzzle is problematic for the standard Kratzer-style analysis of modality. In Kratzer’s semantics, modals are evaluated relative to a pair of conversational backgrounds. We show that there is no sensible way of assigning values to these conversational backgrounds so as to derive all of the intuitions in Kolodny and MacFarlane’s case. We show that the appropriate verdicts can be (...)
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  29. In Defense of a Presuppositional Account of Slurs.Bianca Cepollaro - 2015 - Language Sciences 52:36-45.
    Abstract In the last fifteen years philosophers and linguists have turned their attention to slurs: derogatory expressions that target certain groups on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and so on. This interest is due to the fact that, on the one hand, slurs possess puzzling linguistic properties; on the other hand, the questions they pose are related to other crucial issues, such as the descriptivism/expressivism divide, the semantics/pragmatics divide and, generally speaking, the theory of meaning. Despite these (...)
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  30. Moral Symmetry and Two Dimensional Semantics.Richard Yetter Chappell - manuscript
    This paper explores how insights from two-dimensional semantics can be brought to bear on debates surrounding (realist) metaethical naturalism. It defends two central claims. (1) A plausible principle of 2-D symmetry for normative terms provides us with reason to reject standard forms of synthetic metaethical naturalism. (2) Moore's Open Question Argument can be powerfully revived within the framework of 2-D semantics. I approach these issues by diagnosing how Attitudinal Semanticists' use of 2-D semantics--to account for moral objectivity--goes wrong. I argue (...)
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  31. Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
    Advocates of Expressivism about basically any kind of language are best-served by abandoning a traditional content-centric approach to semantic theorizing, in favor of an update-centric or dynamic approach (or so this paper argues). The type of dynamic approach developed here — in contrast to the content-centric approach — is argued to yield canonical, if not strictly classical, "explanations" of the core semantic properties of the connectives. (The cases on which I focus most here are negation and disjunction.) I end the (...)
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  32. Metanormative Theory and the Meaning of Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 395-424.
    Philosophical debate about the meaning of normative terms has long been pulled in two directions by the apparently competing ideas: (i) ‘ought’s do not describe what is actually the case but rather prescribe possible action, thought, or feeling, (ii) all declarative sentences deserve the same general semantic treatment, e.g. in terms of compositionally specified truth conditions. In this paper, I pursue resolution of this tension by rehearsing the case for a relatively standard truth-conditionalist semantics for ‘ought’ conceived as a necessity (...)
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  33. The Meaning of 'Ought': Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a central part of the explanation of (...)
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  34. Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  35. 'Ought' and Control.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  36. On the Meaning of 'Ought'.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 304.
    Discussions about the meaning of the word “ought” are pulled in two apparently competing directions. First, in ethical theory this word is used in the paradigmatic statement of ethical principles and conclusions about what some agent is obligated to do. This leads some ethical theorists to claim that the word “ought” describes a real relation, roughly, of being obligated to (realism) or expresses some non-cognitive attitude toward agents acting in certain ways (expressivism). Second, in theoretical linguistics this word is classified (...)
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  37. Expressivism, Inferentialism, and the Theory of Meaning.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    One’s account of the meaning of ethical sentences should fit – roughly, as part to whole – with one’s account of the meaning of sentences in general. When we ask, though, where one widely discussed account of the meaning of ethical sentences fits with more general accounts of meaning, the answer is frustratingly unclear. The account I have in mind is the sort of metaethical expressivism inspired by Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare, and defended and worked out in more detail recently (...)
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  38. From Epistemic Expressivism to Epistemic Inferentialism.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    Recent philosophical debate about the meaning of knowledge claims has largely centered on the question of whether epistemic claims are plausibly thought to be context sensitive. The default assumption has been that sentences that attribute knowledge or justification have stable truth-conditions across different contexts of utterance, once any non-epistemic context sensitivity has been fixed. The contrary view is the contextualist view that such sentences do not have stable truth-conditions but can vary depending on the context of utterance. This debate manifestly (...)
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  39. Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334 - 358.
    Theoretical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how the world is. Practical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how to behave in the world as we know it to be. Although this distinction between theoretical and practical reasoning is notoriously central to normative ethical theorizing, its significance has, I think, been underappreciated and misconstrued in the metaethical debate about realism. I suspect that this is the result of two aspects of that debate: (a) the realism debate has been (...)
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  40. Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-20.
    Cornell realists maintain that irreducible moral properties have earned a place in our ontology in virtue of the indispensable role they play in a variety of explanations. These explanations can be divided into two groups: those that employ thin ethical concepts and those that employ thick ethical concepts. Recent work on thick concepts suggests that they are not inherently evaluative in their meaning. If correct, this creates problems for the moral explanations of Cornell realists, since the most persuasive moral explanations (...)
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  41. Socrates on the Definition of Piety.S. Marc Cohen - 1971 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 9 (1):1-13.
    The central argument in the Euthyphro is the one Socrates advances against the definition of piety as "what all the gods love." The argument turns on establishing that a loved thing (philoumenon) is 1) a loved thing because it is loved (phileitai), not 2) loved because it is a loved thing. I suggest that this claim can be understood and found acceptable if we take "because" to be used equivocally in it. Despite the equivocation, Socrates' argument is valid, showing that (...)
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  42. Revising the Language of Morals.Russell W. Cornett - 1987 - Metaphilosophy 18 (2):136–142.
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  43. Oraciones normativas y sensibilidad a la evaluación.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2017 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 43 (1):29-47.
    Nuestro lenguaje no solo describe el mundo que nos rodea: muchas expresiones que usamos habitualmente (desde predicados de gusto a expresiones como “interesante” o “divertido”) tienen por función valorar los objetos que constituyen nuestro entorno. Las oraciones que las contienen son sensibles a la evaluación: su valor de verdad depende del estándar evaluativo saliente en contexto y su emisión puede dar lugar a desacuerdos duros. El presente trabajo examina la ex- tensión de esta categoría a oraciones con predicados y verbos (...)
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  44. Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Ought. Dohrn - 2013 - GAP 8 Proceedings.
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  45. Learning, Acquired Dispositions and the Humean Theory of Motivation.Christos Douskos - 2018 - Philosophical Papers 47 (2):199-233.
    A central point of contention in the ongoing debate between Humean and anti-Humean accounts of moral motivation concerns the theoretical credentials of the idea of mental states that are cognitive and motivational at the same time. Humeans claim that this idea is incoherent and thereby unintelligible (M. Smith, The Moral Problem, Blackwell 1994). I start by developing a linguistic argument against this claim. The semantics of certain ‘learning to’ and ‘knowing to’ ascriptions points to a dispositional state that has both (...)
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  46. Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case Against Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  47. Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  48. The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth.Janice Dowell, J. L. - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
  49. Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
    According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might plausibly (...)
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  50. Contextualist Solutions to Three Puzzles About Practical Conditionals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 7. Oxford University Press.
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