The Problems with Emotivism

Journal of Philosophical Research 25:285-309 (2000)
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Abstract

This article provides a defense of a variety of MacIntyrean arguments against emotivism. In After Virtue MacIntyre explains that emotivism might be understood either as a theory about the meaning or about the function of moral language. He also argues that emotivism is false either way. I argue that MacIntyre is right about this by explaining and then answering the recent defenses of emotivism that have appeared in the literature. I conclude by reminding the reader that according to MacIntyre his attacks on emotivism also serve as attacks on other subjectivist ethical theories, such as prescriptivism and existentialism. Thus, if he is right about this, then his critique of emotivism has more far ranging implications than one might initially suppose.

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