Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3099-3119 (2019)

Alex Worsnip
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Despite increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. As I’ll argue, however, contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to—and “aspirational” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards for the relevant domain. However, I argue that neither view is acceptable. I suggest an original compromise: “ecumenical contextualism”, on which some uses of ‘ought’ are parochial, others aspirational. Ecumenical contextualism is compatible with realism or antirealism, but either combination yields interesting results. And though it’s a cognitivist view, it is strengthened by incorporating an expressivist insight: for robustly normative usages of ‘ought’, the contextually-relevant standards must be endorsed by the speaker.
Keywords Contextualism  Deontic modals  Semantics of 'ought'  Expressivism  Internalism
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1165-9
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

Disagreement as Interpersonal Incoherence.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):245-268.
Rationality, Reasoning Well, and Extramental Props.Wade Munroe - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):175-198.
Wrongfulness rewarded?David O’Brien & Ben Schwan - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.

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