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Oxford Studies in Metaethics11$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784647.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth

The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth
Source:
Oxford Studies in Metaethics
Author(s):

J. L. Dowell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784647.003.0001

What considerations place genuine constraints on an adequate semantics for normative and evaluative expressions? Linguists recognize facts about ordinary uses of such expressions and competent speakers’ judgments about which uses are appropriate. The contemporary literature reflects the widespread assumption that linguists don’t rely upon an additional source of data—competent speakers’ judgments about possible disagreement with hypothetical speech communities. We have several good reasons to think that such judgments are not probative for semantic theorizing. Therefore, we should accord these judgments no probative value for the development of a semantics for our moral terms. Such judgments can no longer be presumed to put pressure on theories according to which our moral expressions share a semantics with ordinary, descriptive terms. Many rivals to pure, Descriptivist theories count among their advantages the ability to accommodate these judgments. If these judgments have no probative value, such theories lose an important source of support.

Keywords:   moral realism, expressivism, cognitivism, non-cognitivism, moral semantics, philosophical methodology, Ruth Millikan, Moral Twin Earth

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