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Matthew Chrisman
University of Edinburgh
  1. From Epistemic Contextualism to Epistemic Expressivism.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (2):225-254.
    In this paper, I exploit the parallel between epistemic contextualism and metaethical speaker-relativism to argue that a promising way out of two of the primary problems facing contextualism is one already explored in some detail in the ethical case – viz. expressivism. The upshot is an argument for a form of epistemic expressivism modeled on a familiar form of ethical expressivism. This provides a new nondescriptivist option for understanding the meaning of knowledge attributions, which arguably better captures the normative nature (...)
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  2. Ought to Believe.Matthew Chrisman - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (7):346-370.
    My primary purpose in this paper is to sketch a theory of doxastic oughts that achieves a satisfying middle ground between the extremes of rejecting epistemic deontology because one thinks beliefs are not within our direct voluntary control and rejecting doxastic involuntarism because one thinks that some doxastic oughts must be true. The key will be appreciating the obvious fact that not all true oughts require direct voluntary control. I will construct my account as an attempt to surpass other accounts (...)
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  3. The Normative Evaluation of Belief and The Aspectual Classification of Belief and Knowledge Attributions.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):588-612.
    It is a piece of philosophical commonsense that belief and knowledge are states. Some epistemologists reject this claim in hope of answering certain difficult questions about the normative evaluation of belief. I shall argue, however, that this move offends not only against philosophical commonsense but also against ordinary common sense, at least as far as this is manifested in the semantic content of the words we use to talk about belief and knowledge. I think it is relatively easily to show (...)
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  4.  17
    Conceptual Role Accounts of Meaning in Metaethics.Matthew Chrisman - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 260-274.
    This paper explains three ways to develop a conceptual role view of meaning in metaethics. First, it suggests that there’s a way to combine inspiration from noncognitivism with a particular form of the conceptual role view to form a noncognitivist view with distinctive advantages over other noncognitivist views. Second, it suggests that there’s also a way to combine a strong commitment to cognitivism with a different form of the conceptual role view to form a version of cognitivism with distinctive advantages (...)
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  5. Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334 - 358.
    Theoretical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how the world is. Practical reasoning aims to expand our knowledge of how to behave in the world as we know it to be. Although this distinction between theoretical and practical reasoning is notoriously central to normative ethical theorizing, its significance has, I think, been underappreciated and misconstrued in the metaethical debate about realism. I suspect that this is the result of two aspects of that debate: (a) the realism debate has been (...)
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  6. ‘Ought’ and Control.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  7. Epistemic Expressivism.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (2):118-126.
    Epistemic expressivism is the application of a nexus of ideas, which is prominent in ethical theory (more specifically, metaethics), to parallel issues in epistemological theory (more specifically, metaepistemology). Here, in order to help those new to the debate come to grips with epistemic expressivism and recent discussions of it, I first briefly present this nexus of ideas as it occurs in ethical expressivism. Then, I explain why and how some philosophers have sought to extend it to a version of epistemic (...)
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  8. Is Epistemic Expressivism Incompatible with Inquiry?J. Adam Carter & Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (3):323-339.
    Expressivist views of an area of discourse encourage us to ask not about the nature of the relevant kinds of values but rather about the nature of the relevant kind of evaluations. Their answer to the latter question typically claims some interesting disanalogy between those kinds of evaluations and descriptions of the world. It does so in hope of providing traction against naturalism-inspired ontological and epistemological worries threatening more ‘realist’ positions. This is a familiar position regarding ethical discourse; however, some (...)
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  9.  66
    Two Nondescriptivist Views of Normative and Evaluative Statements.Matthew Chrisman - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):405-424.
    The dominant route to nondescriptivist views of normative and evaluative language is through the expressivist idea that normative terms have distinctive expressive roles in conveying our attitudes. This paper explores an alternative route based on two ideas. First, a core normative term ‘ought’ is a modal operator; and second, modal operators play a distinctive nonrepresentational role in generating meanings for the statements in which they figure. I argue that this provides for an attractive alternative to expressivist forms of nondescriptivism about (...)
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  10. Epistemic Normativity and Cognitive Agency.Matthew Chrisman - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):508-529.
    On the assumption that genuinely normative demands concern things connected in some way to our agency, i.e. what we exercise in doing things with or for reasons, epistemologists face an important question: are there genuine epistemic norms governing belief, and if so where in the vicinity of belief are we to find the requisite cognitive agency? Extant accounts of cognitive agency tend to focus on belief itself or the event of belief-formation to answer this question, to the exclusion of the (...)
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  11. On the Meaning of 'Ought'.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 304.
    Discussions about the meaning of the word “ought” are pulled in two apparently competing directions. First, in ethical theory this word is used in the paradigmatic statement of ethical principles and conclusions about what some agent is obligated to do. This leads some ethical theorists to claim that the word “ought” describes a real relation, roughly, of being obligated to (realism) or expresses some non-cognitive attitude toward agents acting in certain ways (expressivism). Second, in theoretical linguistics this word is classified (...)
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  12. From Epistemic Expressivism to Epistemic Inferentialism.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    Recent philosophical debate about the meaning of knowledge claims has largely centered on the question of whether epistemic claims are plausibly thought to be context sensitive. The default assumption has been that sentences that attribute knowledge or justification have stable truth-conditions across different contexts of utterance, once any non-epistemic context sensitivity has been fixed. The contrary view is the contextualist view that such sentences do not have stable truth-conditions but can vary depending on the context of utterance. This debate manifestly (...)
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  13. Ethical Expressivism.Matthew Chrisman - 2011 - In Christian Miller (ed.), Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. pp. 29.
    This is an advanced overview of ethical expressivism.
     
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  14. Expressivism, Inferentialism, and the Theory of Meaning.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    One’s account of the meaning of ethical sentences should fit – roughly, as part to whole – with one’s account of the meaning of sentences in general. When we ask, though, where one widely discussed account of the meaning of ethical sentences fits with more general accounts of meaning, the answer is frustratingly unclear. The account I have in mind is the sort of metaethical expressivism inspired by Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare, and defended and worked out in more detail recently (...)
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  15. Ethical Neo-Expressivism.Dorit Bar-On & Matthew Chrisman - 2009 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 132-65.
    A standard way to explain the connection between ethical claims and motivation is to say that these claims express motivational attitudes. Unless this connection is taken to be merely a matter of contingent psychological regularity, it may seem that there are only two options for understanding it. We can either treat ethical claims as expressing propositions that one cannot believe without being at least somewhat motivated (subjectivism), or we can treat ethical claims as nonpropositional and as having their semantic content (...)
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  16.  14
    Speaking and Listening to Acts of Political Dissent.Graham Hubbs & Matthew Chrisman - 2018 - In Casey Johnson (ed.), Voicing Dissent. pp. 164-81.
    In the past few years, the United States has seen violent street protests in response to police killing unarmed people of color, angry protests by university students concerned about the racist legacy of their institutions, and verbally disruptive protests inside rallies of the (then) Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. Some of these acts of protest have been clearly legal, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; others, by contrast, have not, but may nevertheless be be defensible (...)
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  17. A Dilemma for Moral Fictionalism.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophical Books 49 (1):4-13.
    This article is a critical study of Mark Kalderon's excellent book *Moral Fictionalism*.
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  18. Attitudinal Expressivism and Logical Pragmatism.Matthew Chrisman - 2014 - In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language. pp. 117-135.
    Contemporary discussions of expressivism in metaethics tend to run together two quite different antidescriptivist views, and only one of them is subject to the objection about compositional semantics pressed most recently by Schroeder (following Dreier, Unwinn, Hale, Geach and others). Here I distinguish the two versions of expressivism and then go on to suggest that those sympathetic to the second sort of expressivism might improve their account of normative vocabulary and the way it figures in reasoning by making what may (...)
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  19.  13
    Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  20. Constructivism, Expressivism and Ethical Knowledge.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):331-353.
    In the contemporary metaethical debate, expressivist (Blackburn, Gibbard) and constructivist (Korsgaard, Street) views can be viewed as inspired by irrealist ideas from Hume and Kant respectively. One realist response to these contemporary irrealist views is to argue that they are inconsistent with obvious surface-level appearances of ordinary ethical thought and discourse, especially the fact that we talk and act as if there is ethical knowledge . In this paper, I explore some constructivist and expressivist options for responding to this objection. (...)
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  21. Review of Alan Gibbard's Thinking How to Live. [REVIEW]Matthew Chrisman - 2005 - Ethics 115 (2):406-412.
    I imagine that people will complain that the account of normative concepts defended in Gibbard’s new book makes the metaethical waters even muddier because it blurs the line between cognitivism and noncognitivism and between realism and antirealism. However, these labels are philosophic tools, and in the wake of Gibbard’s new book, one might rightly conclude that there are new and better philosophical tools emerging on the metaethical scene. The uptake of views about practical reasoning—as exhibited by planning—into debates about the (...)
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  22.  8
    Metanormative Theory and the Meaning of Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 395-424.
    Philosophical debate about the meaning of normative terms has long been pulled in two directions by the apparently competing ideas: (i) ‘ought’s do not describe what is actually the case but rather prescribe possible action, thought, or feeling, (ii) all declarative sentences deserve the same general semantic treatment, e.g. in terms of compositionally specified truth conditions. In this paper, I pursue resolution of this tension by rehearsing the case for a relatively standard truth-conditionalist semantics for ‘ought’ conceived as a necessity (...)
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  23. Expressivism, Truth, and (Self-) Knowledge.Matthew Chrisman - 2009 - Philosophers' Imprint 9:1-26.
    In this paper, I consider the prospects of two different kinds of expressivism – ethical expressivism and avowal expressivism – in light of two common objections. The first objection stems from the fact that it is natural to think of ethical statements and avowals as at least potential manifestations of knowledge. The second objection stems from the fact that it is natural to treat ethical statements and avowals as truth-evaluable. I argue that, although a recent avowal expressivist attempt (Bar-On 2004) (...)
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  24. The Aim of Belief and the Goal of Truth.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In James O.’Shea Eric Rubenstein (ed.), elf, Language, and World: Problems from Kant, Sellars, and Rosenberg. Ridgeview Publishing Co..
    Davidson, Rorty, and Rosenberg each reject, for similar reasons, the idea that truth is the aim of belief and the goal of inquiry. Rosenberg provides the most explicit and compelling argument for this provocative view. Here, with a focus on this argument, I suggest that this view is a mistake, but not for the reasons some might think. In my view, we can view truth as a constitutive aim of belief even if not a regulative goal of inquiry, if we (...)
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  25. Review of Shafer-Landau's Moral Realism. [REVIEW]Matthew Chrisman - 2005 - Ethics 116 (1):250-255.
    G. E. Moore famously argued on the basis of semantic intuitions that moral properties are not reducible to natural properties, and therefore that moral predicates refer to nonnatural properties. This clearly represents a version of “moral realism,” but it is a testament to the strength of naturalist intuitions in contemporary philosophical debate that, insofar as one accepts Moore’s arguments, this is typically seen as a boon for antirealists rather than realists. For many philosophers worry that putative nonnatural properties would be (...)
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  26.  35
    The Aim of Belief and the Goal of Truth: Reflections on Rosenberg.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - In Pedro Schmechtig & Martin Grajner (eds.), Epistemic Reasons, Norms and Goals. De Gruyter. pp. 357-382.
    This paper considers an argument from Rosenberg (Thinking about Knowing, 2002) that truth is not and cannot be the aim of belief. Here, I reconstruct what I take to be the most well worked out version of this idea tracing back to Rorty and Davidson. In response, I also distinguish two things the truth-aim could be: a goal regulating our executable epistemic conduct and an end which determines the types of evaluation, susceptibility to which is partially constitutive of what a (...)
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  27. Review of William P. Alston's Beyond Justification. [REVIEW]Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2).
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  28.  49
    Reasons as Defaults by John F. Horty.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):919-924.
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    Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Matthew Chrisman, Brian Treanor, Mette Lebech, G. L. Huxley & Ciaran McGlynn - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2):303 – 323.
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  30.  38
    X—Knowing What One Ought to Do.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (2pt2):167-186.
    This paper considers two competing pictures of knowledge of what one ought to do—one which assimilates this to other propositional knowledge conceived as partial ‘locational’ knowledge of where one is in a space of possibilities, the other which distinguishes this from other propositional knowledge by construing it as partial ‘directional’ knowledge of what to do in particular circumstances. I argue that the apparent tension can be lessened by better understanding the contextualized modal-cum-prescriptive nature of ‘ought’ and enriching our conception of (...)
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  31.  55
    Using Big Words to Explain Little Words.Matthew Chrisman - 2011 - Think 10 (29):23-36.
    Sometimes, when I go to dinner parties organized by my partner, people ask me what I do, and I say that I'm a philosopher. But when I fumble at their questions about ‘my philosophy’, my partner will describe what I do by saying, ‘He uses big words to explain little words.’ Although this is meant tongue in cheek, it's basically right. My philosophical research is mainly in metaethics and the philosophy of language with a focus on the semantics of moral (...)
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  32. Book ReviewsAllan Gibbard,. Thinking How to Live.Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003. Pp. 302. $45.00.Matthew Chrisman - 2005 - Ethics 115 (2):406-412.
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  33.  30
    Emotivism.Matthew Chrisman - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  34. Book ReviewsRuss Shafer‐Landau,. Moral Realism: A Defense.New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pp. 332. $60.00 ; $29.95. [REVIEW]Matthew Chrisman - 2005 - Ethics 116 (1):250-255.
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  35. Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334-358.
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  36. Philosophy for Everyone.Matthew Chrisman, Duncan Pritchard, Jane Suilin Lavelle, Michela Massimi, Alasdair Richmond & Dave Ward - 2013 - Routledge.
    Philosophy for Everyone begins by explaining what philosophy is before exploring the questions and issues at the foundation of this important subject. Key topics and their areas of focus include: Epistemology - what our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it; Philosophy of Science - foundational conceptual issues in scientific research and practice; Philosophy of Mind - what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and (...)
     
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    Philosophy for Everyone: Second Edition.Matthew Chrisman, Duncan Pritchard, Guy Fletcher, Elinor Mason, Jane Suilin Lavelle, Michela Massimi, Alasdair Richmond & Dave Ward - 2016 - Routledge.
    Philosophy for Everyone begins by explaining what philosophy is before exploring the questions and issues at the foundation of this important subject. Key topics in this new edition and their areas of focus include: Moral philosophy – the nature of our moral judgments and reactions, whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences; and the possibility of moral responsibility given the sorts of things that cause behavior; Political philosophy – fundamental questions about the (...)
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  38.  36
    The Meaning of 'Ought': Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a central part of the explanation of (...)
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  39.  8
    What is This Thing Called Metaethics?Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - Routledge.
    Are moral standards relative to cultures? Are there any moral facts? What is goodness? If there are moral facts how do we learn about them?_ _These are all questions in metaethics, the branch of ethics that investigates the status of morality, the nature of ethical facts, and the meaning of ethical statements. To the uninitiated it can appear abstract and far removed from its two more concrete cousins, ethical theory and applied ethics, yet it is one of the fastest-growing and (...)
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