The Argument From Intransigence For Non-cognitivism

Philosophical Writings 35 (2) (2007)
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There is a classic disagreement in moral psychology about the mental states that constitute the sincere acceptance of moral claims. Cognitivists hold that these states are beliefs aiming at a correct description of the world; whereas non-cognitivists argue that they must be some other kind of attitude. Mark Eli Kalderon has recently presented a new argument for non-cognitivism. He argues that all cognitivist inquiries include certain epistemic obligations for the participants in cases of disagreement in the inquiry. I will provide additional support for this claim. Kalderon then claims that our moral inquiry lacks the required epistemic obligation and that therefore it must be non-cognitive. I will show that Kalderon’s case against the required obligation fails and furthermore provide some evidence for the existence of this obligation. Therefore, his argument for non-cognitivism is not sound and provides no pressure against cognitivism
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