Error-Theory, Relaxation and Inferentialism

In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 49-70 (2018)
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This contribution considers whether or not it is possible to devise a coherent form of external skepticism about the normative if we ‘relax’ about normative ontology by regarding claims about the existence of normative truths and properties themselves as normative. I answer this question in the positive: A coherent form of non-normative error-theories can be developed even against a relaxed background. However, this form no longer makes any reference to the alleged falsity of normative judgments, nor the non-existence of normative properties. Instead, it concerns a specifically inferentialist construal of error-theories which suggests that error-theorists should abstain from any claims about normative ontology to focus exclusively on claims about the inferential role of normative vocabulary. As I will show, this suggestion affords a number of important advantages. However, it also comes at a cost, in that it might not only change the letter, but also the spirit of traditional error-theories.

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Christine Tiefensee
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management


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