Saving which differences? Creeping minimalism and disagreement

Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1905-1921 (2019)

Christine Tiefensee
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Much thought has been devoted to how metaethical disagreement between moral realism and expressivism can be saved once minimalism starts creeping. Very little thought has been given to how creeping minimalism affects error-theories’ disagreement with their metaethical competitors. The reason for this omission, I suspect, is found in the belief that whilst locating distinctive moral realist and expressivist positions within a minimalist landscape poses a severe challenge, no such difficulties are encountered when differentiating error-theories from moral realism and expressivism. In the first part of this paper, I show that this belief is mistaken: Insofar as moral realists and error-theorists are still taken to disagree, creeping minimalism renders their disagreement moral, but makes these positions metaethically indistinguishable. In the second part of the paper, I present a modified inferentialist solution to the problem of creeping minimalism which seeks to put error-theories back on the metaethical map. Yet, this too comes at a cost, in that it significantly modifies our interpretation of error-theories. Whichever way we turn, then, creeping minimalism not only forces us to re-phrase metaethical positions in a way that is compatible with minimalism, but also requires us to change our very understanding of these positions.
Keywords Creeping minimalism  Metaethics  Expressivism  Moral Realism  Error Theory  Inferentialism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1103-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334-358.
Meta‐Ethics and the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23–44.
Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem.Charles R. Pigden - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):441-456.
Meta‐ethics and The Problem of Creeping Minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23-44.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Truthmaking, Metaethics, and Creeping Minimalism.Jamin Asay - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):213-232.
Solving the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.Matthew Simpson - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):510-531.
Minimalism and Expressivism.Fritz J. McDonald - 2012 - Ethics in Progress 3:9-30.
Minimalist Semantics in Meta-Ethical Expressivism.Billy Dunaway - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (3):351 - 371.
Expressivist Embeddings and Minimalist Truth.James Dreier - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):29-51.
Three Problems with Metaethical Minimalism.Raff Donelson - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):125-131.
How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism?David Enoch - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15-50.
Recent Work in Expressivism.Neil Sinclair - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):136-147.
Meta‐ethics and The Problem of Creeping Minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23-44.
Confidence in Unwarranted Knowledge.David B. Martens - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (2):143 - 164.
Disagreement Lost and Found.Stephen Finlay - 2017 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 12. Oxford University Press. pp. 187-205.
Expressivism and the Normativity of Attitudes.Teemu Toppinen - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):233-255.


Added to PP index

Total views
76 ( #114,913 of 2,285,634 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
41 ( #22,573 of 2,285,634 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature