Non-cognitivism and rational inference

Philosophical Studies 153 (2):243 - 259 (2011)
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Abstract

Non-cognitivism might seem to offer a plausible account of evaluative judgments, at least on the assumption that there is a satisfactory solution to the Frege-Geach problem. However, Cian Dorr has argued that non-cognitivism remains implausible even assuming that the Frege-Geach problem can be solved, on the grounds that non-cognitivism still has to classify some paradigmatically rational inferences as irrational. Dorr's argument is ingenious and at first glance seems decisive. However, in this paper I will show that Dorr's argument equivocates between two different notions of evidence, and that once this equivocation is noted there is no reason to doubt that non-cognitivism is consistent with the rationality of such inferences, at least if it is assumed that the Frege-Geach problem can be solved. In particular, I will show that non-cognitivists can endorse the same explanation of the rationality of such inferences that cognitivists should endorse, and that there is thus no need for non-cognitivists to offer any sort of idiosyncratic account of the epistemology of such cases, in contrast to what other commentators on Dorr's argument have thought

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Mark Budolfson
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Tempered expressivism.Mark Schroeder - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics (1).
Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
Moral Cognitivism vs. Non-Cognitivism.Mark van Roojen - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2013 (1):1-88.
Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Wise choices, apt feelings: a theory of normative judgment.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Change in View: Principles of Reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.

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