Expressivism, Belief, and All That

Journal of Philosophy 114 (4):189-207 (2017)
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Meta-ethical expressivism was traditionally seen as the view that normative judgements are not beliefs. Recently, quasi-realists have argued, via a minimalist conception of “belief”, that expressivism is fully compatible with normative judgements being beliefs. This maneuver is successful, however, only if quasi-realists have really offered an expressivist-friendly account of belief that captures all platitudes characterizing belief. But, quasi-realists’ account has a crucial gap, namely how to account for the propositional contents of normative beliefs in an expressivist-friendly manner. In particular, quasi-realists haven’t yet developed their preferred option, a “minimalist” or “deflationist” account of such contents. This paper aims to close that gap. I argue that expressivists who accepts conceptual role semantics and use an account of that-clauses in their use in belief-attributions based on Wilfrid Sellars’ work can give a deflationary account of the contents of beliefs that is compatible with normative judgements being beliefs, even if expressivism is true.

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Sebastian Köhler
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management


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