Expressivism and Varieties of Normativity

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 12:265-293 (2017)
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Abstract
The expressivist advances a view about how we explain the meaning of a fragment of language, such as claims about what we morally ought to do. Critics evaluate expressivism on those terms. This is a serious mistake. We don’t just use that fragment of language in isolation. We make claims about what we morally, legally, rationally, and prudentially ought to do. To account for this linguistic phenomenon, the expressivist owes us an account not just of each fragment of language, but of how they weave together into a broader tapestry. I argue that expressivists face a dilemma in doing so: either they fail to explain the univocality of terms like 'ought', or they fail to explain when normative statements are and aren't inconsistent.
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