Interpretative expressivism: A theory of normative belief

Philosophical Studies 179 (1):1-20 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Metaethical expressivism is typically characterised as the view that normative statements express desire-like attitudes instead of beliefs. However, in this paper I argue that expressivists should claim that normative statements express beliefs in normative propositions, and not merely in some deflationary sense but in a theoretically robust sense explicated by a theory of propositional attitudes. I first argue that this can be achieved by combining an interpretationist understanding of belief with a nonfactualist view of normative belief content. This results in a view I call ‘interpretative expressivism’. I then argue that traditional arguments employed by expressivists that normative statements express noncognitive attitudes can just as well support the claim that normative statements express nonfactual or nonrepresentational beliefs. Finally, I argue that this view has a number of advantages to versions of expressivism that deny that normative statements express non-deflationary normative beliefs.

Author's Profile

James L. D. Brown
University of Sheffield


Added to PP

222 (#42,721)

6 months
85 (#16,255)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?