Non-Descriptive Relativism: Adding Options to the Expressivist Marketplace

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13:48-70 (2018)
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This chapter identifies a novel family of metaethical theories that are non-descriptive and that aim to explain the action-guiding qualities of normative thought and language. The general strategy is to consider different relations language might bear to a given content, where we locate descriptivity (or lack of it) in these relations, rather than locating it in a theory that begins with the expression of states of mind, or locating it in a special kind of content that is not way-things-might-be content. One such view is sketched, which posits two different content-fixing cognitive roles for bits of language. One role fixes a descriptive relation to content and another role fixes a non-descriptive relation to content. In addition to non-descriptivity and action guidance, the chapter briefly considers the appearance of mind-independent authoritative force, disagreement, and Frege–Geach concerns.

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Matthew Bedke
University of British Columbia


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