By Mark Schroeder
Expressivism--the refined modern incarnation of the noncognitivist study software of Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare--is not the province of metaethicists on my own. Its finished view concerning the nature of either normative language and normative suggestion has additionally lately been utilized to many issues in different places in philosophy -- together with good judgment, likelihood, psychological and linguistic content material, wisdom, epistemic modals, trust, the a priori, or even quantifiers.
Yet the semantic commitments of expressivism are nonetheless poorly understood and feature now not been very a long way built. As argued inside of, expressivists haven't but even controlled to resolve the "negation problem" - to give an explanation for why atomic normative sentences are inconsistent with their negations. for that reason, it truly is faraway from transparent that expressivism even can be real, not to mention no matter if it is.
Being For seeks to judge the semantic commitments of expressivism, by way of exhibiting how an expressivist semantics might paintings, what it will possibly do, and how much assumptions will be required, to ensure that it to do it. development on a hugely normal figuring out of the fundamental rules of expressivism, it argues that expressivists can clear up the negation challenge - yet in simple terms in a single type of approach. It indicates how this perception paves the best way for an explanatorily strong, confident expressivist semantics, which solves lots of what were taken to be the inner most difficulties for expressivism. however it additionally argues that no account with those benefits could be generalized to house buildings like annoying, modals, or binary quantifiers. Expressivism, the publication argues, is coherent and fascinating, yet fake.
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Extra resources for Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism
And so the sentence comes to count as having this content derivatively. So it is permissible to assert ‘grass is green’ only if you believe that grass is green, but not because the sentence has the content that grass is green—rather, it has that content because those are the conditions under which it is permissible to assert it. Assertability semantics gives an account of the expression relation that satisﬁes all of our criteria. It does not collapse into the same-content relation, because according to assertability semantics, descriptive sentences acquire their contents from the beliefs which they express, rather than conversely.
But a more minimal account of the expression relation could resist these moves. It is right, according to the minimal view, that a sentence expresses a mental state by being associated with the proposition that the speaker is in that mental state. But on the minimal view, this is not due to something that the speaker does or intends. Being associated with this proposition is merely a semantic property of the sentence. Why think that sentences are associated with propositions to the effect that the speaker is in a certain mental state?
First, I am going to explain the embedding problem as it was originally formulated by Geach and Searle, who believed that noncognitivists could not explain why normative sentences have the same meaning in embedded contexts. There is a simple move that all expressivists make in response to this objection that claims to be able to offer the same kind of explanation of this as ordinary descriptivist semanticists would. It is a second instance of the Basic Expressivist Expression 19 Maneuver. I’ll explain why this move quickly commits expressivists to some very strong views about the way that ordinary descriptive sentences acquire their semantic content.