Metalinguistic negotiations in moral disagreement

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (3):352-380 (2022)
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Abstract

The problem of moral disagreement has been presented as an objection to contextualist semantics for ‘ought’, since it is not clear that contextualism can accommodate or give a convincing gloss of such disagreement. I argue that independently of our semantics, disagreements over ‘ought’ in non-cooperative contexts are best understood as indirect metalinguistic disputes, which is easily accommodated by contextualism. If this is correct, then rather than posing a problem for contextualism, the data from moral disagreements provides some reason to adopt a semantics that allows contextual variance in the meanings of ‘ought’.

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Renee Jorgensen
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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