Expressivism and Cognitive Propositions

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):371-387 (2019)
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Expressivists about normative thought and discourse traditionally deny that there are nondeflationary normative propositions. However, it has recently been suggested that expressivists might avoid a number of problems by providing a theory of normative propositions compatible with expressivism. This paper explores the prospects for developing an expressivist theory of propositions within the framework of cognitive act theories of propositions. First, I argue that the only extant expressivist theory of cognitive propositions—Michael Ridge's ‘ecumenical expressivist’ theory—fails to explain identity conditions for normative propositions. Second, I argue that this failure motivates a general constraint—the ‘unity requirement’—that any expressivist theory of propositions must provide a unified nonrepresentational explanation of that in virtue of which propositional attitudes have the content that they have. Third, I argue that conceptual role accounts of content provide a promising framework in which to develop an expressivist theory of cognitive propositions.

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James L. D. Brown
University of Sheffield

Citations of this work

Conceptual Role Expressivism and Defective Concepts.James L. D. Brown - 2022 - In Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17. pp. 225-53.
Against Being For.James Brown - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 23 (1):136-43.

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References found in this work

Thought.Gilbert Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
What is Meaning?Scott Soames - 2010 - Princeton University Press.

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