Elaborating Expressivism: Moral judgments, Desires and Motivation

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):253-267 (2014)
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Abstract

According to expressivism, moral judgments are desire-like states of mind. It is often argued that this view is made implausible because it isn’t consistent with the conceivability of amoralists, i.e., agents who make moral judgments yet lack motivation. In response, expressivists can invoke the distinction between dispositional and occurrent desires. Strandberg (Am Philos Quart 49:81–91, 2012) has recently argued that this distinction does not save expressivism. Indeed, it can be used to argue that expressivism is false. In this paper I argue that expressivism is a much more complex thesis than Strandberg assumes. Once these complexities are acknowledged, Strandberg’s arguments are rendered ineffective and expressivism rendered more plausible

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