Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (3):305-320 (2002)

Michael Smith
Princeton University
Evaluative judgements have both belief-like and desire-like features. While cognitivists think that they can easily explain the belief-like features, and have trouble explaining the desire-like features, non-cognitivists think the reverse. I argue that the belief-like features of evaluative judgement are quite complex, and that these complexities crucially affect the way in which an agent's values explain her actions, and hence the desire-like features. While one form of cognitivism can, it turns out that non-cognitivism cannot, accommodate all of these complexities. The upshot is that that form of cognitivism can explain both features of evaluative judgements, and that non-cognitivism can explain neither.
Keywords cognitivism  evaluation  motivation  non-cognitivism  uncertainty
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DOI 10.1023/a:1019675327207
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