Semantic Challenges to Normative Realism

Philosophy Compass 8 (2):126-136 (2013)

Tristram McPherson
Ohio State University
Normative realists might be assumed to have few worries about semantics. After all, a realist might initially hope to simply adopt the best semantic theory about ordinary descriptive language. However, beginning with the non‐cognitivist appropriation of the open question argument, a number of philosophers have posed serious objections to the realist’s ability to offer a plausible semantic theory. This paper introduces the two most influential semantic challenges to normative realism: the open question argument, and the Moral Twin Earth argument. It explains the major replies to these challenges offered by realists, and locates these challenges within the broader debate over what sort of semantic theories might be plausible candidates for a normative realist to adopt.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/phc3.12005
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,999
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Mind, Language, and Reality.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Simple Escape From Moral Twin Earth.Pekka Väyrynen - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):109-118.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Normativity and the Realist Stance in Semantics.Giacomo Turbanti - 2012 - Humana Mente - Journal of Philosophical Studies 21:83-102.
Must Metaethical Realism Make a Semantic Claim?Guy Kahane - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):148-178.
Against Quietist Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
Horwich on 'Semantic' and 'Metaphysical' Realism.David Davies - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (4):539-557.
The Semantic Realism/Anti-Realism Dispute and Knowledge of Meanings.Panu Raatikainen - 2009 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5:1-13.
Darwin and Moral Realism: Survival of the Iffiest.Knut Olav Skarsaune - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):229-243.
What is Normativity?John Skorupski - 2007 - Disputatio 2 (23):1 - 23.


Added to PP index

Total views
94 ( #86,467 of 2,266,723 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #349,346 of 2,266,723 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature