Tempered expressivism

Oxford Studies in Metaethics (1) (2013)
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Abstract

The basic idea of expressivism is that for some sentences ‘P’, believing that P is not just a matter of having an ordinary descriptive belief. This is a way of capturing the idea that the meaning of some sentences either exceeds their factual/descriptive content or doesn’t consist in any particular factual/descriptive content at all, even in context. The paradigmatic application for expressivism is within metaethics, and holds that believing that stealing is wrong involves having some kind of desire-like attitude, with world-tomind direction of fit, either in place of, or in addition to, being in a representational state of mind with mind-to-world direction of fit. Because expressivists refer to the state of believing that P as the state of mind ‘expressed’ by ‘P’, this view can also be described as the view that ‘stealing is wrong’ expresses a state of mind that involves a desire-like attitude instead of, or in addition to, a representational state of mind. According to some expressivists - unrestrained expressivists, as I’ll call them - there need be no special relationship among the different kinds of state of mind that can be expressed by sentences. Pick your favorite state of mind, the unrestrained expressivist allows, and there could, at least in principle, be a sentence that expressed it. Expressivists who seem to have been unrestrained plausibly include Ayer in Language, Truth, and Logic, and Simon Blackburn in many of his writings, including his [1984], [1993], and..

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California

Citations of this work

Defining Normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2019 - In Toh Kevin, Plunkett David & Shapiro Scott (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 62-104.
The Frege-Geach Problem.Jack Woods - 2017 - In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 226-242.
Moral Cognitivism vs. Non-Cognitivism.Mark van Roojen - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2013 (1):1-88.
Noncognitivism without expressivism.Bob Beddor - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (3):762-788.

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References found in this work

Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.
Wise Choices, Apt Feelings.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Ethics 102 (2):342-356.
Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.
Language, Truth, and Logic.A. J. Ayer - 1936 - Philosophy 23 (85):173-176.

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