The moral belief problem

Ratio 19 (2):249–260 (2006)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The moral belief problem is that of reconciling expressivism in ethics with both minimalism in the philosophy of language and the syntactic discipline of moral sentences. It is argued that the problem can be solved by distinguishing minimal and robust senses of belief, where a minimal belief is any state of mind expressed by sincere assertoric use of a syntactically disciplined sentence and a robust belief is a minimal belief with some additional property R. Two attempts to specify R are discussed, both based on the thought that beliefs are states that aim at truth. According to the first, robust beliefs are criticisable to the extent that their content fails to match the state of the world. This sense fails to distinguish robust beliefs from minimal beliefs. According to the second, robust beliefs function to have their content match the state of the world. This sense succeeds in distinguishing robust beliefs from minimal beliefs. The conclusion is that the debate concerning the cognitive status of moral convictions needs to address the issue of the function of moral convictions. Evolutionary theorising may be relevant, but will not be decisive, in answering this question.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SINTMB
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Thinking How to Live.Gibbard, Allan
Truth and Objectivity.Wright, Crispin

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
324 ( #6,810 of 34,979 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #18,927 of 34,979 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.