Nondescriptivist Cognitivism: Framework for a New Metaethic

Philosophical Papers 29 (2):121-153 (2000)
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Abstract We propose a metaethical view that combines the cognitivist idea that moral judgments are genuine beliefs and moral utterances express genuine assertions with the idea that such beliefs and utterances are nondescriptive in their overall content. This sort of view has not been recognized among the standard metaethical options because it is generally assumed that all genuine beliefs and assertions must have descriptive content. We challenge this assumption and thereby open up conceptual space for a new kind of metaethical view. In developing our brand of nondescriptivist cognitivism we do the following: (1) articulate a conception of belief (and assertion) that does not require the overall declarative content of beliefs (and assertions) to be descriptive content; (2) make a case for the independent plausibility of this conception of belief and assertion; and (3) argue that our view, formulated in a way that draws upon the proposed conception of belief, has significant comparative advantages over descriptivist forms of cognitivism.



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Author Profiles

Terry Horgan
University of Arizona
Mark Timmons
University of Arizona

Citations of this work

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Truth and objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The language of morals.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1952 - Oxford,: Clarendon Press.
Ethics and language.Charles Leslie Stevenson - 1944 - New York: AMS Press.

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