Ramsey's Cognitivism: Truth, Ethics and the Meaning of Life

Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 78:251-263 (2016)
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Abstract

Frank Ramsey is usually taken to be an emotivist or an expressivist about the good: he is usually taken to bifurcate inquiry into fact-stating and non-fact stating domains, ethics falling into the latter. In this paper I shall argue that whatever the very young Ramsey's view might have been, towards the end of his short life, he was coming to a through-going and objective pragmatism about all our beliefs, including those about the good, beauty, and even the meaning of life. Ethical beliefs are not mere expressions of emotion, but rather fall under our cognitive scope. They can be assessed as rational or irrational, true or false.

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Cheryl Misak
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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