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The Meaning of 'Ought' – Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Meaning of 'Ought': Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics

Matthew Chrisman

Abstract

The word ‘ought’ is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. This book 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. Traditionally, theories that treat normative statements as descriptions of how reality might be have claimed the advantage of continuity with truth-conditional approaches to semantics; and theories that treat normative statements as expressions of nonbelief attitudes have claimed the advantage of explaining their disti ... More

Keywords: metanormative theory, semantics, meaning, descriptivism, expressivism, inferentialism, modal operator

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199363001
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199363001.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Chrisman, author
Reader in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh