Disagreement Lost and Found

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 12. Oxford University Press. pp. 187-205 (2017)
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According to content-relativist theories of moral language, different speakers use the same moral sentences to say different things. Content-relativism faces a well-known problem of lost disagreement. Recently, numerous content-relativists (including the author) have proposed to solve this problem by appeal to various kinds of non-content-based, or broadly pragmatic, disagreement. This presents content-relativists with a new problem—of found agreement. Which (if any) of these newly identified kinds of conflict is correctly identified as the lost moral disagreement we were looking for? This paper offers a critical comparison of different content-relativist proposals. It divides them into two broad categories, quasi-expressivist theories (QED) and metalinguistic theories (MLD). Objections to each are considered, and QED is tentatively found to be superior.

Author's Profile

Stephen Finlay
Australian Catholic University


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