Noncognitivism in Ethics (New Problems of Philosophy)

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Save to Library. The Expansion View of Thick Concepts. According to EV, thick concepts are expanded contents of thin terms. An expanded content is, roughly, the semantic content of a An expanded content is, roughly, the semantic content of a predicate along with modifiers. Although EV is a form of Separabilism, it is distinct from the only kind of Separabilism discussed in the literature, and it has many features that Inseparabilists want from an account of thick concepts. EV can also give non-cognitivists a novel escape from the Anti-Disentangling Argument.

The Ethics-Mathematics Analogy.

Ethics and mathematics have long invited comparisons. On the one hand, both ethical and mathematical propositions can appear to be knowable a priori, if knowable at all. On the other hand, mathematical propositions seem to admit of On the other hand, mathematical propositions seem to admit of proof, and to enter into empirical scientific theories, in a way that ethical propositions do not.

In this article, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between ethical moral and mathematical knowledge, realistically construed -- i. I argue that some are are merely apparent, while others are of little consequence. There is a difference between the cases. But it is not an epistemological difference per se. The difference is that ethical knowledge, if it is practical, cannot fail to be objective in a sense that factual knowledge can. Another is that the concepts of realism and objectivity, which are widely identified, are actually in tension.

Noncognitivism and Epistemic Evaluations. This paper develops a new challenge for moral noncognitivism. In brief, the challenge is this: beliefs-both moral and non-moral-are epistemically evaluable, whereas desires are not. It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of differences in the functional roles of beliefs and desires. However, this explanation stands in tension with noncognitivism, which maintains that moral beliefs have a desire-like functional role. After critically reviewing some initial responses to the challenge, I suggest a solution, which involves rethinking the functional relationship between desire and belief.

Realism, Objectivity, and Evaluation. I discuss Benacerraf's epistemological challenge for realism about an area, F, like mathematics, metalogic, modality, or morality. I argue that it should be understood as the challenge to show that our beliefs are safe, realistically I argue that it should be understood as the challenge to show that our beliefs are safe, realistically construed -- i.

I explain how F-pluralism -- the view that there are a plurality of F-like concepts, all independently satisfied -- can be understood as a response to Benacerraf's challenge. And I explain why moral, and more generally, normative pluralism is peculiarly problematic. One upshot of the discussion is a radicalization of Moore's Open Question Argument.

Morality and Mathematics penultimate draft. In this book, I explore similarities and differences between morality and mathematics, realistically conceived. I argue that our mathematical beliefs have no better claim to being self-evident or provable than our moral beliefs. Nor do Nor do our mathematical beliefs have better claim to being empirically justified than our moral beliefs. In general, if one is a moral antirealist on the basis of epistemological considerations, then one ought to be a mathematical antirealist as well.

And, yet, moral realism and mathematical realism do not stand or fall together. Moral questions, insofar as they are practical, are objective in a sense that mathematical questions are not, and the sense in which they are objective can only be explained by assuming moral anti-realism. One upshot of the discussion is that the concepts of realism and objectivity, which are widely identified, are actually in tension. Another is that the objective questions in the neighborhood of questions of logic, modality, grounding, nature, and more are practical questions.

Practical philosophy should, therefore, take center stage. It has a world-to-mind direction of fit.

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Although particular ways of drawing the distinction remain controversial, the key idea that representational beliefs themselves are motivationally inert is widely accepted. Finally, the conclusion comes in different strengths. But what kind of states? They are clearly not mere desires, since we can desire things we don't regard as desirable. But there doesn't seem to be any common phenomenological character to all the various moral thoughts we have.

So contemporary non-cognitivists appeal to the functional role of moral attitudes instead, to their distinctive part in our overall psychology. Blackburn's idea is that moral thoughts involve higher-order attitudes towards desires and preferences. When I morally disapprove of polluting the environment, I don't just desire not to pollute, but I also applaud others who are averse to it and dislike those who fail to share my desire. Here's how Blackburn describes this sort of emotional ascent:.

Rising up we come to preferences that we prefer others to share. Here, according to me, we begin to enter the territory of ethics. Blackburn When I morally disapprove of something, I also have these higher-order attitudes towards my own attitudes: I prefer not to desire what I disapprove of. This doesn't guarantee that I will always have the first-order desires, so the link between judgment and motivation is defeasible.

Gibbard , in turn, identifies narrowly moral judgments with judgments about the rationality of guilt and resentment. To think that stealing is wrong, for example, is to think it rational to feel guilt for stealing and resent others for stealing in the absence of conditions like ignorance or force that excuse the agent.

To think that something is rational or makes sense, in turn, is to accept norms that permit it. On Gibbard's original account, norm-acceptance is a basic kind of non-cognitive state, an evolutionary adaptation for linguistically achieved coordination that is not analyzable in terms of other attitudes ch. It is non-cognitive, because it is essentially a motivational tendency to act or feel in ways that we are prepared to avow in discussion about what to do.

In later work, he considers normative thoughts as contingency plans that settle what to do in actual and non-actual situations Gibbard These thoughts are defeasibly motivating, just as the Argument from Internalism requires. The above argument concerns moral judgment as a psychological state, a kind of thought. Bearing these terminological stipulations in mind, any argument for non-cognitivism can be extended to an argument for expressivism with the addition of some deceptively simple premises:.

Premise 4 is the key addition. It is not the only way to arrive at a broadly expressivist theory in ethics—earlier forms, such as emotivism Ayer ; Stevenson and universal prescriptivism Hare , relied on the problematic assumption that the meaning of a sentence is to be understood on the basis of the effects it is used to achieve or the speech act it is used to perform.

Metasemantic Psychologism doesn't make this assumption, but simply derives the meaning of linguistic expressions from the thoughts that they express, rather than their truth-conditions or the possible worlds they rule out, as standard semantics does. As Allan Gibbard puts it,. A normative sentence, the expressivist says, expresses a state of mind; its meaning is explained not by giving its truth conditions but by telling what state of mind it expresses. It is essential to understanding expressivism that expressing a thought is not the same thing as reporting a thought.

Consider the following pair of non-moral sentences, as uttered by me:. The first expresses the belief that the sun is shining. It doesn't say anything about me, but rather something about the weather. The second sentence, in contrast, reports my belief. It is about my psychology, not about the weather. It is perfectly possible that the second sentence is true while the first is false maybe I'm fooled by a very bright lamp outside my window , so they clearly do not mean the same.

The only difference is that the expressed state is non-representational. This has significant semantic consequences, to be sure. Since non-representational states lack truth-conditions, expressivists cannot explain the inferential relations among them in the usual way. Attempts to do so have proven controversial, to say the least. For discussion, see the entry on Moral Cognitivism vs. Although it is definitive of expressivism that the meanings of moral sentences are explained without appealing to their truth-conditions, it is important to note that contemporary expressivists do not deny that it makes sense to talk about moral truth or even moral facts.

As Blackburn puts it:. To say that it is objectively true is to affirm that its truth does not vary with what we happen to think about it, and once more this is an internal, first-order ethical position. Given minimalism, many questions that might at first sight seem metaethical, second-order questions about ethics turn out to be first-order questions within ethics.

Is it an objective fact that it is wrong to force a woman to wear a veil outside her home? As the expressivist hears this question, it is about how we should respond to forcing women to wear a veil—perhaps more specifically, whether it is acceptable for someone to force a woman to wear a veil if he happens to believe it is morally or religiously required.

That is a first-order ethical question about whether our reactions to this kind of behaviour should hang on the agents' own opinions concerning it. In answering it, we thus deploy our first-order ethical opinions, possibly rethinking them in the light of recognizing that others hold opposing views.

If we answer that forcing women to wear a veil is objectively wrong, we are against it regardless of what the agents themselves think of it. Indeed, since we are against it in this way, we regard a potential change in our own opinion in favour of forcing women to wear a veil as a change for the worse, and are disposed to resist it. This is what it is, for an expressivist, to regard a moral claim as true independently of anyone's opinion of it.

Expressivism is thus consistent with objectivist first-order views and is not committed to the idea that were we to come to feel differently about ethical issues, ethical facts themselves would change. The extent to which expressivism can accommodate moral truth, facts, and objectivity has created no small amount of unclarity about what the real difference between expressivist and non-expressivist views really is see Dreier To make things even more confusing, contemporary expressivists also condone talk of moral beliefs, as long as they are understood as whatever states sentences express, representational or non-representational.

Perhaps the key difference is simply that expressivists are committed to the priority of non-representational attitudes in metasemantic explanation. For a more detailed discussion, see again the entry on Moral Cognitivism vs. Sentimentalists need not think that moral judgments just are sentiments or attitudes of some sort. They might also be beliefs about sentiments or the disposition to cause sentiments. The related semantic view is that moral sentences are about the speaker's or someone else's sentiments or dispositions to cause sentiments. Although it is surprisingly unusual to do so, it is important to distinguish these views about judgments, concepts, and language from similar-sounding views about properties and facts, since the arguments for and against differ.

This section will focus solely on the first kind of issue. This disapproval need not consist simply in a negative sentiment towards stealing, but may also be thought of, in a Gibbard-like fashion, as endorsement of a moral standard or norm that prohibits stealing. In other words, the speaker reports the same attitude that expressivists say the sentence expresses. This view is suggested by some things that Hume says, in particular the following:. For speaker subjectivism, there is a non-cognitive element to moral judgment, but moral sentences can nevertheless be given standard truth-conditional semantics.

Its attraction is thus making sense of judgment internalism without the need for non-standard semantics. For contextualists, the standard need not be one that is endorsed by the speaker although it often is. The standard objection to subjectivism and contextualism is the Missing Disagreement Problem. It can obviously be simultaneously true that Ann disapproves of eating people and Beth doesn't, so their utterances don't contradict each other. Yet they do, so Speaker Subjectivism has a problem.

Contemporary subjectivists and contextualists are well aware of this problem, and offer various suggestions to solve it. Gilbert Harman's response appeals to pragmatics. When we say that something is wrong, we presuppose that the hearer shares our moral standards Harman Our conversation is about what the content of the standard we endorse is, or what it entails about a particular case.

These are issues about which we can genuinely disagree. If, however, it turns out the hearer doesn't share the standard, the conversation is defective , and the speaker and hearer are indeed talking past each other. According to Harman, the speaker should then withdraw or explicitly relativize the assertion, or be guilty of linguistic impropriety ibid. This is debatable at best, however. In any case, this pragmatic strategy appears to unduly restrict the scope of possible disagreement, since it is possible to disagree with people who are not part of the conversation.

This suggestion is related to the third kind of subjectivist response, which is retreat to the same notion that expressivists use: the disagreement does not consist in contradictory beliefs, but disagreement in attitude. Assume, for simplicity, that disapproval involves desire to have the agent punished, and approval a desire not to have the agent punished. Then even if Ann's and Beth's utterances don't contradict one another, they disagree in the sense that it is not possible to simultaneously satisfy the desires entailed by their sincere utterances when they issue a verdict on cannibalism.

If Ann gets her way, Beth doesn't, and vice versa. Another issue for Speaker Subjectivism is that the subject matter of the moral thought is not distinctively evaluative: if Ellen is a Presbyterian and thinks that stealing is wrong, the content of Ellen's thought might be just that stealing is such as to arouse disapproval in Presbyterians. Someone else could have a thought with the same content without thereby making a moral evaluation of stealing Egan The evaluative aspect is external to the belief, and consists rather in something like identifying as a Presbyterian, which involves a desire-like attitude towards avoiding things that don't fit the Presbyterian moral code.

Consequently, there is no commitment to a distinct kind of evaluative fact. It is not clear whether this is a problem or an advantage for the theory—according to Jamie Dreier , it is the latter. Ideal Dispositionalist views evade problems with Speaker Subjectivism with two moves.

Cognitivism vs Non Cognitivism (Extract from "Metaethics")

The first is idealization: the beliefs and sentences refer not to the speaker's views, but to those of a suitably idealized subject perhaps an idealized version of the speaker. At the level of logical form, ought claims may have a tacit argument place for a standard, just as for contextualists—but the standard is context-invariant. The second is dispositionalization: the reference is not to anyone's actual sentiments, but to sentiments they would have in suitable circumstances.

Suggestions of this type of view can be found in Hume and Smith—recall their talk of correcting our sentiments by reference to the common point of view or the impartial spectator's response.

Non-Cognitivism in Ethics

Here is a recognizably Smithian formulation of this kind of view:. To judge that X is wrong is to believe that any informed impartial spectator would disapprove of X. Roderick Firth's Ideal Observer Theory is a more contemporary variant of this kind of view. He formulates it as an analysis of the meaning of ethical statements, but it can also be taken as an account of the corresponding thoughts. In general form, it is as follows:. To judge that X has a moral property is to believe that any ideal observer would have an ethically significant reaction to X in conditions ideal for doing so.

Firth He leaves it open whether the reaction is sentimental, so there are possible variants of Ideal Observer Theory that are not sentimentalist. If we actually disqualify someone's ethical verdicts because she is ignorant of non-moral facts, failure to vividly imagine what something would actually be like, partiality, non-moral emotions, and inconsistency, this shows that we implicitly regard moral judgements as valid only when made by an omniscient, omnipercipient, impartial, dispassionate, consistent, but otherwise normal judge ibid. These are then the characteristics of the ideal observer.

Ideal Dispositionalist views avoid the Missing Disagreement Problem. For example, if Ann believes that any informed impartial spectator would disapprove of X and Beth believes it's not the case that any informed impartial spectator would not disapprove of X , their beliefs contradict each other and they straightforwardly disagree.

However, this victory for idealized views is achieved by detachment from people's own actual attitudes, which leads to the Missing Motivation Problem. The attraction that simple subjectivism, contextualism, and non-cognitivism share is that if moral thoughts consist in attitudes or beliefs about standards one endorses, their putative non-contingent connection to motivation is unproblematic. But how could beliefs about dispositions to cause sentimental responses in ideal subjects non-contingently motivate ordinary thinkers, given the Humean Theory of Motivation Mackie 69?

Some might have the desire to do what an impartial spectator would approve of, but what about those who don't? As Richard Joyce has put it, it appears that one may be just as unmoved by such thoughts as by the belief that drunken Vikings would mock the performance of an action, and quite rationally so. A well-known response to a version of the Missing Motivation Problem is developed by Michael Smith Smith begins with the initially appealing view that to think that something is desirable is not just to desire it, but to believe that one would desire it, were one fully rational, where to be fully rational is to have no false beliefs, to have all the relevant true beliefs, and to have a coherent and unified set of desires.

Given that becoming fully rational might itself change what's desirable for me, Smith prefers an Ideal Advisor model, according to which thinking that A-ing is desirable for me is to think that a fully rational version of me would want me to desire to A. Given this content for desirability beliefs, Smith poses the question: would S be more coherent, were she to believe that her fully rational counterpart would desire her to A and desire to A , or were she to have have the same belief without the desire Smith ?

Smith claims that the former belief-desire pair makes for a more coherent psychology, other things being equal. Since rationality requires coherence, rationality thus requires people's desires to line up with their desirability beliefs. So rational agents are motivated by their beliefs about their Ideal Advisors' desires, and motivation is thus non-contingently linked with normative judgments.

This view allows for the conceptual possibility of amoralists, as long as they are irrational. Smith's argument is about desirability or normative reason thoughts, not about moral judgments. But he proposes to bridge the gap by arguing that first, the desires of fully rational agents converge regardless of their starting points Smith , and second, that among these convergent desires are desires for the sort of things that commonsense morality requires Smith Both of these claims are controversial, and together make Smith a rationalist rather than sentimentalist ideal observer theorist.

But there may be room for a sentimentalist theory to appropriate something like his model without its rationalist elements. That is, it might be a requirement of rationality that we are motivated to do what we believe an informed impartial spectator would not resent us for, for example. For Adam Smith, the voice of an imagined impartial spectator is the voice of conscience , the part within us that stands in judgment of ourselves. So Adam Smith might argue that an agent who believes that any impartial spectator would desire her to do A and fails to desire to A is less coherent and thus less rational, other things being equal than one who combines the belief with a desire to A.

What is decisive is that our beliefs about an ideal spectator's attitudes define where we ourselves stand, unlike our beliefs about drunk Vikings, for example. The cognitivist sentimentalist views discussed in the previous section appealed to beliefs about dispositions to cause sentimental responses in certain kind of subjects. The other main type of cognitivist view, sensibility theory , regards judgments as beliefs about merited responses Wiggins ; McDowell Sensibility theory begins with an analogy with secondary quality concepts, such as colour concepts.

These concepts, according to many, are concepts of mind-dependent qualities whose existence isn't independent of human sensibility. On this view, to experience something as red, say, is experience it as being such as to look red to normal human beings in suitable conditions. This is, to be sure, a controversial view, as many think that colour experience presents its object as having a simple, non-dispositional property. Nevertheless, sensibility theorists believe it offers a partial analogy with moral experience, the difference being that value is.

McDowell When we conceive of value in this way, we perceive there to be a reason for, say, admiring or emulating someone McDowell This state of perceiving or conceiving of there being a reason is a belief of a unique and controversial sort. According to John McDowell , it can explain a virtuous person's action without the help of a related desire playing a causal role although we can rightly attribute a desire to a person as a consequence of their being motivated by the perception of a reason.

His arguments are inspired by his reading of Aristotle rather than the Early Modern sentimentalist tradition. The Argument from Uncodifiability is that explaining a virtuous person's action in terms of a desire for doing N things, where N is a natural property of actions, combined with the belief that something is N falsely presumes that there is some finite and codifiable natural kind N corresponding to every virtuous quality in actions.

Take honesty. It is not just a matter of always speaking truly, for example, or not misleading others. Sometimes honesty requires being more forthcoming with information, sometimes less it is not dishonest not to tell everything to a gossip journalist. On the Aristotelian view, there isn't a pattern that could be captured in non-evaluative terms, and hence no explanation of action in terms of an independently intelligible desire to instantiate such a pattern:. Occasion by occasion, one knows what to do, if one does, not by applying universal principles but by being a certain kind of person: one who sees situations in a certain distinctive way.

The distinctive way a virtuous person sees a situation is that certain features, like someone's need to know something, are salient to her: they silence other concerns. Other things do not stand out as calling for action, and this suffices to explain what the agent does. McDowell denies this:. One argument in favour of this is that there is a difference between being virtuous and being continent. Both kinds of agents do the right thing—for example, both remain faithful to their partner. But the continent agent has to struggle with competing desires that cloud their attention on the noble and the fine.

She has to muster willpower to keep from temptation.

Noncognitivism in Ethics: Mark Schroeder: Trade Paperback: Powell's Books

The difference between her and the virtuous person, on this picture, is not in the first instance a conative one, but a difference in what is salient, which is simultaneously a cognitive and affective difference. A consequence of this view is that the process of coming to appreciate practical reasons will involve shaping the agent's motivational sensitivities and may itself be akin to a non-rational conversion rather than to rational deliberation from existing motives McDowell — The basic argument in defense of the Humean theory, presented notably by Michael Smith — , is that beliefs and desires are modally separable : it is at least conceivable, and according to Smith actual, that someone maintains the belief that they ought to do something while losing the associated desire, due to depression, say.

In response, McDowell would have to insist that in becoming depressed, one's conception of the situation changes, even if one maintains or acquires a deflated belief—the sort of cognitive state that a merely continent person has that overlaps with the virtuous person's conception. This is a less outrageous move than is often assumed. After all, it is commonsensical to say that a depressed person sees things differently, even if some aspect of continuity is retained. Sensibility theories belong in the category Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson a have labelled neo-sentimentalism.

It is, officially, the view that evaluative concepts are concepts of appropriateness of sentimental responses. As discussed in Section 4. That is, to think that something is shameful is to think that shame is appropriate or that there is sufficient reason for it. Gibbard's account is a non-cognitivist variant of this view, since for him thoughts about appropriateness are non-cognitive, whereas McDowell and Wiggins's view is cognitivist, since according to them thoughts about merit are beliefs or, perhaps, besires. A key motivation for neo-sentimentalism is that making a judgment about desirability or shamefulness is distinct from desiring or being ashamed.

The point of using and introducing normative concepts is to guide our attitudes rather than just express or report them. A clear advantage of this view is that it promises to account for the rich variety of evaluative judgments we have—we don't just have thoughts about right and wrong, but also about who's enviable or admirable or detestable or funny.

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Neo-sentimentalism faces a variety of challenges. Francois Schroeter argues that warranted emotional responses do not determine the extension the most important evaluative concepts, such as dangerous or wrong , but only minor ones that make explicit reference to emotion, such as fearful or shameful. Schroeter contends that the ultimate criterion for determining whether something is dangerous, for example, is whether it is liable to cause harm, where harm can be understood in response-independent terms, such as loss of bodily integrity Schroeter In work in preparation, D'Arms and Jacobson respond by pointing out that not everything that threatens to violate bodily integrity is dangerous, nor is everything that is dangerous a threat to bodily integrity or some other response-independent feature.

Our inquiry into what is dangerous will be ultimately about the fittingness of fear, even if we can use response-independent characterizations is it likely to kill or hurt someone? Shaun Nichols criticizes neo-sentimentalist accounts on the basis that they cannot make sense of moral judgment in young children. If neo-sentimentalists are right, to think that something is wrong, for example, is to think that guilt is fitting for doing it—but, Nichols claims, children who distinguish moral from conventional violations do not yet possess the concept of guilt.

This is an empirically fraught issue, since it is not easy to determine either whether children make full-blown moral judgments or experience guilt. But there is some evidence that very young children from 22 months on exhibit behavioural signs of guilt such as gaze avoidance and bodily tension after a mishap Kochanska et al.

Perhaps the more interesting question is the development of the sense of appropriateness of emotional responses. D'Arms and Jacobson themselves say that both varieties of neo-sentimentalism face what they call the Conflation Problem a: In general terms, it is that for any attitude Y , S may think that Y is appropriate towards X without thinking that X is Y -able, and vice versa.

If a dictator will kill a hundred people unless I admire him, I may think it is appropriate for me to admire him to save all those lives. Nevertheless, I may think the dictator is not admirable. If a colleague gets a promotion, I may think she is enviable. Nevertheless, I may not think it is appropriate for me to envy my colleague, as it would manifest pettiness and worsen the atmosphere of the department.

Since most responses to the Conflation Problem draw on metaphysical considerations about right and wrong kinds of reasons for attitudes, they will be discussed in Section 4. It is, however, worth noting here that some deny there is a genuine problem. What seem to be wrong kind of reasons for an attitude are not, in fact, reasons for the attitude at all, but for wanting to have it Gibbard ; Way The dictator's threat is no reason for me to admire him, since it's not the sort of thing to which I can directly respond with admiration.

Nor does the thought that envy would be petty directly reduce envy, sadly. I can, and probably should, respond to it by wanting to admire him, and trying to bring it about that I admire him. But, on this line of response, the thought I have isn't that I have sufficient reason to admire the dictator, but rather that I have sufficient reason to want to admire him. As these are distinct thoughts, there is no conflation: even in the presence of the threat or, more generally, any intuitively wrong kind of reason for an attitude , I don't find the attitude itself an appropriate or rational response.

Conversely, in the case of the enviable colleague, I do find envy appropriate, given her promotion, but nevertheless take myself to have sufficient reason to want and try to bring about not envying her, given the bad consequences for the departmental atmosphere. For further discussion, see also the entry on Fitting Attitude Theories of Value.

Hybrid theories solve the problem of fitting together the representational and practical aspects of moral judgment by arguing that both cognitive and non-cognitive states are in play somehow: moral judgments have both a sentimental and a non-sentimental aspect. Several options have been explored recently.

Hybrid expressivists argue that moral sentences express both kinds of state. Hybrid state theorists claim that there are psychological states that have both representational and non-representational aspects. Moral thought pluralists distinguish between several kinds of moral thought. Hybrid expressivism comes in many varieties. Ridge's theory is complex and evolving, but the basic idea is simple enough. Take the judgment that I must tell the truth to the judge.

As a first approximation, such judgment consists in approval of actions of a certain kind, and the belief that telling the truth to the judge is an action of that kind cf. Barker Maybe I approve of actions that maximize utility, and believe that telling the truth to the judge maximizes utility. A little less roughly, the judgment amounts to thinking that any acceptable standard for practical reasoning requires me to tell the truth to the judge.

And this, in turn, is a matter of having a normative perspective N , and having the representational belief that any standard admitted by N requires me to tell the truth to the judge Ridge forthcoming. The first of these is a complex desire-like state—roughly, embracing a policy that admits a set of standards as authoritative. In the example, such standards are utilitarian, but different people have different normative perspectives. The second is an ordinary belief about these very normative standards: that they require telling the truth to the judge. Ridge argues that this type of view accounts for the attractions of non-cognitivism, chiefly avoiding problematic ontological commitment to non-deflationary moral facts, and explaining practicality.

Having a normative perspective involves a desire-like attitude towards what one believes to be required by certain standards, practically rational agents form an instrumental desire to perform such actions. The cognitive element serves to explain the compositionality and inferential features of moral language.

Validity of inferences is then understood in terms of avoiding inconsistency of the associated beliefs. There is no need for a separate logic of attitudes. For worries about hybrid expressivism, see Schroeder Jesse Prinz's account of moral judgment can be classified as a hybrid state theory. For Prinz, a moral sentiment is a disposition to respond to certain actions with a range of self- and other-directed blame- or praise-constituting emotions, such as guilt, contempt, anger, and gratitude.

He also calls it a moral rule —to have internalized a rule against stealing consists in being disposed to respond negatively to stealing. A moral judgment consists in the emotion that results from activating a sentiment, such as anger at stealing or shame for fleeing. The anger represents stealing as being such as to cause disapprobation in the judge—that is, as morally wrong, according to Prinz's moral metaphysics see Section 4. This means the judgment can be true or false. It also motivates punishing the agent. Other emotions, and hence judgments, have different motivational effects—disgust may motivate to avoid the agent instead.


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  5. In addition to the standard internalist argument, Prinz employs the Argument from Parsimony. He claims that empirical research some of which was discussed in Section 2. Prinz acknowledges that non-sentimentalists may have a story to tell about all of these phenomena, but the simplest explanation is that moral concepts are themselves constituted by emotions or emotional dispositions Prinz 21— One challenge to Prinz's view is thus the seeming possibility of non-emotional moral judgment.

    Finally, moral thought pluralism is a very new approach, although Elizabeth Radcliffe argues that Hume himself distinguished between two kinds of moral thought. Linda Zagzebski and Uriah Kriegel argue in different ways that there are two kinds of moral judgment, one of which contains an affective element.

    Antti Kauppinen forthcoming a distinguishes between moral appearances , which are constituted by manifestations of sentiments we expect others to share, and moral judgments , which are implicitly beliefs about what would be permitted, required, or recommended by standards an ideal subject would endorse. Moral appearances are taken to be parallel to perceptual appearances—non-doxastic states that attract assent to their propositional contents see Section 5.

    As with other appearances, the existence of moral thoughts that are not judgments is clearest in cases in which they clash with judgment. Kauppinen draws on the observation that it can seem to us that what we do is wrong even when we sincerely believe it is right, or vice versa. He maintains that moral seemings have a distinctive phenomenological and motivational character, which is best explained by their being sentimental in nature.

    Motivational internalism is thus true of moral appearances. Since appearances cause moral beliefs, the two kinds of thought often co-occur. But moral beliefs can be arrived at and held independently of moral appearances. This accounts for the force of motivational externalist objections and the possibility of amoralism. Since the beliefs are ordinary descriptive ones, there is no need for a separate moral semantics.

    Pluralist views thus split the difference between non-cognitivist and cognitivist sentimentalism: each is, broadly speaking, true of one important kind of moral thought in contrast to hybrid views, according to which each thought has both non-cognitive and cognitive elements. It is an appealing thought that moral and other evaluative facts and properties are not just brutely out there independently of human thought and sensibility. Take the evaluative property of being funny. How could something be funny, if no actual human being was ever amused by it?

    How could something be outrageous if it failed to generate any outrage when known about, even in those who care about the victim? For sentimentalists, value, including moral value, is anthropocentric D'Arms and Jacobson Sentimentalists agree with error theorists that sui generis, non-natural moral facts would be queer, and that mind-independent natural facts are unfit for the role of moral facts. Non-cognitivist sentimentalists treat moral facts as projections of moral attitudes. Although there is excellent reason to think Hume wasn't a projectivist, he gave one of the classic formulations in saying that taste.

    We take a sentimental response in ourselves, say envy, and attribute to the worldly object a feature it doesn't really have, such as being enviable. Error theorists treat this projection as much the same as the attribution of agency to clouds or trees by some primitive culture: a predictable false belief.