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

Expressivism, Inferentialism and the Simulation Game.Nick Zangwill - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Conceptual Role Expressivism and Defective Concepts.James L. D. Brown - 2022 - In Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17. pp. 225-53.

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References found in this work

Linguistics in Philosophy.Zeno Vendler - 2019 - Cornell University Press.
Thought.Gilbert Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford University Press.

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