Expressivism, Inferentialism, and the Theory of Meaning

In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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 by Blackburn, Gibbard, and others. So, my first aim (§1) in this paper is to pose this question about expressivism’s commitments in the theory of meaning and to characterize the answer I think is most natural, given the place expressivist accounts attempt to occupy metaethics. This involves appeal to an ideationalist account of meaning. Unfortunately for the expressivist, however, this answer generates a problem; it’s my second aim (§2) to articulate this problem. Then, my third aim (§3) is to argue that this problem doesn’t extend to the sort of account of the meaning of ethical claims that I favor, which is like expressivism in rejecting a representationalist order of semantic explanation but unlike expressivism in basing an alternative order of semantic explanation on inferential role rather than expressive function.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

From Epistemic Expressivism to Epistemic Inferentialism.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Expressivism.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (2):118-126.
On the Meaning of 'Ought'.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 304.
Minimalist Semantics in Meta-Ethical Expressivism.Billy Dunaway - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (3):351 - 371.
The Problem with the Frege–Geach Problem.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):635-665.
Tempered Expressivism.Mark Schroeder - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics (1).
Expressivism Concerning Epistemic Modals.Benjamin Schnieder - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):601-615.
Expression for Expressivists.Mark Schroeder - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (1):86–116.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-25

Downloads
261 (#44,715)

6 months
27 (#38,975)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Matthew Chrisman
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

Solving the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.Matthew Simpson - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):510-531.
Moral Inferentialism and the Frege-Geach Problem.Mark Douglas Warren - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2859-2885.
What is Global Expressivism?Matthew Simpson - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):140-161.
Quasirealism as semantic dispensability.Derek Baker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2313-2333.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references