Inferential Expressivism and the Negation Problem

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 16 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
We develop a novel solution to the negation version of the Frege-Geach problem by taking up recent insights from the bilateral programme in logic. Bilateralists derive the meaning of negation from a primitive *B-type* inconsistency involving the attitudes of assent and dissent. Some may demand an explanation of this inconsistency in simpler terms, but we argue that bilateralism’s assumptions are no less explanatory than those of *A-type* semantics that only require a single primitive attitude, but must stipulate inconsistency elsewhere. Based on these insights, we develop a version of B-type expressivism called *inferential expressivism*. This is a novel semantic framework that characterises meanings by inferential roles that define which *attitudes* one can *infer* from the use of terms. We apply this framework to normative vocabulary, thereby solving the Frege-Geach problem generally and comprehensively. Our account moreover includes a semantics for epistemic modals, thereby also explaining normative terms under epistemic modals.
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Archival date: 2019-06-18
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References found in this work BETA
Impassioned Belief.Ridge, Michael
Epistemic Modals.Yalcin, Seth
Ifs and Oughts.Kolodny, Niko & MacFarlane, John
Bounded Modality.Mandelkern, Matthew
The Logical Basis of Metaphysics.Dummett, Michael; Putnam, Hilary & Conant, James

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