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Metaethics after Moore$
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Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.001.0001

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Cognitivist Expressivism

Cognitivist Expressivism

(p.255) 12 Cognitivist Expressivism *
Metaethics after Moore

Terry Horgan (Contributor Webpage)

Mark Timmons (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the so-called semantic assumption — according to which beliefs are necessarily descriptive in that they purport to represent or describe some state of affairs — by arguing that moral judgments share enough of the phenomenological and functional features that are central to the notion of belief, to count as genuine beliefs; a notion that does not require beliefs to be primarily descriptive. This opens the door to a cognitivist version of expressivism. The chapter sketches a version of cognitivist expressivism, including an account of logical embedding (meant to deal with the Frege–Geach problem), which it argued as prima facie more plausible than non-cognitivist and descriptivist alternatives in metaethics.

Keywords:   semantic assumption, phenomenology, descriptive beliefs, descriptivism, noncognitivism, cognitivist expressivism, Frege–Geach problem, logical embedding

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