Evaluative Discourse and Affective States of Mind

Mind:fzz088 (forthcoming)
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It is widely held within contemporary metaethics that there is a lack of linguistic support for evaluative expressivism. On the contrary, it seems that the predictions that expressivists make about evaluative discourse are not borne out. An instance of this is the so-called problem of missing Moorean infelicity. Expressivists maintain that evaluative statements express non-cognitive states of mind in a similar manner to how ordinary descriptive language expresses beliefs. Conjoining an ordinary assertion that p with the denial of being in the corresponding belief state famously gives rise to Moorean infelicity:?? It’s raining but I don’t believe that it’s raining. If expressivists are right, then conjoining evaluative statements with the denial of being in the relevant non-cognitive state of mind should give rise to similar infelicity. However, as several theorists have pointed out, this does not seem to be the case. Statements like the following are not infelicitous: Murder is wrong but I don’t disapprove of it. In this paper, I argue that evaluative statements express the kind of states that are attributed by ‘find’-constructions in English and that these states are non-cognitive in nature. This addresses the problem of missing Moorean infelicity and, more generally, goes to show that there are linguistic facts which support expressivism about evaluative discourse.
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Archival date: 2020-04-06
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