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Oxford Studies in Metaethics 12$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805076.001.0001

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Expressivism and Varieties of Normativity

Expressivism and Varieties of Normativity

(p.265) 11 Expressivism and Varieties of Normativity
Oxford Studies in Metaethics 12

Daniel Wodak

Oxford University Press

Expressivists aim to explain the meaning of a fragment of language—typically, claims about what we morally ought to do—in terms of the non-cognitive attitudes they express. Critics evaluate expressivism on those terms. This is a mistake. We don’t use that fragment of language in isolation. We make claims about what we morally, legally, rationally, and prudentially ought to do: we relativize “ought” and other deontic modals to different standards, or varieties of normativity. This chapter argues that the standard-relativity of “ought” poses a dilemma for expressivists. If they claim that “ought” expresses different types of attitudes when it is relativized to different standards (e.g. morality and legality), they struggle to explain why “ought” is univocal when relativized. If they claim that “ought” always expresses the same type of non-cognitive attitude, they struggle to explain why “ought” claims that are relativized to different standards do not express inconsistent attitudes.

Keywords:   expressivism, deontic modal, varieties of normativity, univocality, inconsistency, semantics, meta-semantics, pragmatics

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