Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism

Paperback | June 24, 2010

byMark Schroeder

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Expressivism - the sophisticated contemporary incarnation of the noncognitivist research program of Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare - is no longer the province of metaethicists alone. Its comprehensive view about the nature of both normative language and normative thought has also recently beenapplied to many topics elsewhere in philosophy - including logic, probability, mental and linguistic content, knowledge, epistemic modals, belief, the a priori, and even quantifiers. Yet the semantic commitments of expressivism are still poorly understood and have not been very far developed. As argued within, expressivists have not yet even managed to solve the 'negation problem' - to explain why atomic normative sentences are inconsistent with their negations. As a result, itis far from clear that expressivism even could be true, let alone whether it is.Being For seeks to evaluate the semantic commitments of expressivism, by showing how an expressivist semantics would work, what it can do, and what kind of assumptions would be required, in order for it to do it. Building on a highly general understanding of the basic ideas of expressivism, itargues that expressivists can solve the negation problem - but only in one kind of way. It shows how this insight paves the way for an explanatorily powerful, constructive expressivist semantics, which solves many of what have been taken to be the deepest problems for expressivism. But it alsoargues that no account with these advantages can be generalized to deal with constructions like tense, modals, or binary quantifiers. Expressivism, the book argues, is coherent and interesting, but false.

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Expressivism - the sophisticated contemporary incarnation of the noncognitivist research program of Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare - is no longer the province of metaethicists alone. Its comprehensive view about the nature of both normative language and normative thought has also recently beenapplied to many topics elsewhere in philosophy -...

Mark Schroeder is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, and author of Slaves of the Passions (OUP). His research ranges broadly across issues closely related to practical reason and metaethics, including on questions about reasons, rationality, normativity, reduction, moral explanations, metaethic...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:214 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:June 24, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199588007

ISBN - 13:9780199588008

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart One: The semantic program of expressivism1. Introduction2. ExpressionPart Two: Expressivists' problems with logic3. The negation problem4. Its solution5. Composition and logic6. Predicates and quantifiersPart Three: Descriptive language7. Descriptive language and belief8. Biforcated attitude semantics9. Assigning truth-conditions10. An alternative approachPart Four: Extensions11. Nondescriptivist semantics12. The limits and costs of expressivismReferences

Editorial Reviews

"Schroeder's Being For is the most sophisticated investigation to date of the prospects for expressivist semantics. The book sets out and argues for a set of constraints on expressivist handling of the infamous "embedding problem", shows what a solution would look like, and explains thesubstantive commitments that such a solution must take on board. It is a philosophically serious and technically rigorous argument, and it establishes a kind of plateau from which future work on the subject will have to proceed." --Jamie Dreier, Brown University