Analysis 80 (1):102-110 (2020)

Janice Dowell
Syracuse University
Stephen Finlay’s proposed methodology for defending the central theses of his impressive Confusion of Tongues is an underexplored aspect of this work.1 1 His official methodology is analytic : A reduction of normative to non-normative vocabulary. Here, I argue that taking this official line at face-value forces the reader to conclude that the reductions at the heart of that book cannot be correct. In contrast, a philosophical methodology that does not proceed via analyses would better support those reductions, then understood as non-analytic. As we’ll see below, there are independent, empirical reasons to reject a philosophical methodology that proceeds via analyses. I conclude that there is a method for the study of ethical language that better serves Finlay’s primary philosophical aims. The lesson, though, is generalizable: Given the array of normative and meta-normative theories, we want a semantics for normative discourse to be capable of expressing, we should expect that the more plausible such views will not be defended via analyses.
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DOI 10.1093/analys/anz081
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