Minimalism and quasi-realism

Abstract

Expressivism's problem in solving the Frege/Geach problem concerning unasserted contexts is evaluated in the light of Blackburn's own methodological commitment to assessing philosophical theories in terms of costs and benefits, notably quasi-realism's aim of minimising the ontological commitments of a broadly naturalistic worldview. The problem emerges when a competitor theory can explain the same phenomena at lower cost: the minimalist about truth has no problem with unasserted contexts whereas the quasi-realist/expressivist package does. However, this form of projectivism is supposed to be a local and contrastive thesis or the central metaphor of projection makes no sense. So in competition with minimalism, projectivism must - at least for non-contested areas of thought and language - presuppose non-minimal truth. This casts new light on Blackburn's proposal globally to revise the relations between logic and truth so as to model ethical discourse as tracking a notion of commitment to contents that can be either attitudinal or truh evaluable. Why globally revise logic, in order solely to explain the problem of unasserted contexts, when a rival view can do so much better according to the standards set by the quasi-realist? Why do so when a notion of non-minimal truth and a classical explanation of logic are already available to you, given the local and contrastive claims of quasi-realism?

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Alan Thomas
University of York

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