Expression for expressivists

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (1):86–116 (2008)
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Abstract

Expressivism’s central idea is that normative sentences bear the same relation to non-cognitive attitudes that ordinary descriptive sentences bear to beliefs: the expression relation. Allan Gibbard teIls us that “that words express judgments will be accepted by almost everyone” - the distinctive contribution of expressivism, his claim goes, is only a view about what kind of judgments words express. But not every account of the expression relation is equally suitable for the expressivist’s purposes. In fact, what I argue in this paper, considering four possible accounts of expression, is that how suitable each account is for the expressivist’s purpose varies in proportion to how controversial it is. So Gibbard is wrong - if expression is to get expressivism off the ground, then it will be enormously controversial whether words do express judgments. And thus expressivism is committed to strong claims about the semantics of non-normative language.

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Wise choices, apt feelings: a theory of normative judgment.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.

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