Publication of the Month: February 2023

Noncognitivism Without Expressivism

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

According to expressivists, normative language expresses desire-like states of mind. According to noncognitivists, normative beliefs have a desire-like functional role. What is the relation between these two doctrines? It is widely assumed that expressivism commits you to noncognitivism, and vice versa. This paper against this assumption. I advance a view that combines a noncognitivist psychology with a descriptivist semantics for normative language. While this might seem like an ungainly hybrid, I argue that it has important advantages over more familiar metaethical positions. The noncognitivist aspect of the theory captures all of the explanatory benefits standardly associated with expressivism. At the same time, the descriptivist element allows us to avoid all of the semantic headaches for expressivism.
Concept of love, giving gifts, donorship.
Beddor, Robert Speeter. Noncognitivism Without Expressivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 2023.
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