A third way in metaethics

Noûs 43 (1):1-30 (2009)
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Abstract

What does it take to count as competent with the meaning of a thin evaluative predicate like 'is the right thing to do'? According to minimalists like Allan Gibbard and Ralph Wedgwood, competent speakers must simply use the predicate to express their own motivational states. According to analytic descriptivists like Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit and Christopher Peacocke, competent speakers must grasp a particular criterion for identifying the property picked out by the term. Both approaches face serious difficulties. We suggest that these difficulties derive from a shared background assumption that competence conditions must be explained in terms of a determinate conceptual role. We propose a new way of characterizing competence with evaluative terms: what's required for competence is participation in a shared epistemic practice with a term. Our approach, we argue, better explains the nature of evaluative inquiry and the extent of disagreement about evaluative questions.

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Author Profiles

Laura Schroeter
University of Melbourne
Francois Schroeter
University of Melbourne

Citations of this work

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race.Naomi Zack (ed.) - 2017 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press USA.
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Why Be an Anti-Individualist?Laura Schroeter - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):105-141.
Private Investigators and Public Speakers.Alexander Sandgren - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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