Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism

Being For: Evaluating the Semantic Program of Expressivism

by Mark Schroeder
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0199534659

ISBN-13: 9780199534654

Pub. Date: 08/15/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press

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 recently been applied to many topics elsewhere in philosophy-including logic, probability, mental and

Overview

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 recently been applied 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, it is 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, it argues 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 also argues 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199534654
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
08/15/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Preface     ix
The Semantic Program of Expressivism
Introduction     3
Expression     16
Expressivists' Problems with Logic
The negation problem     39
Its solution     56
Composition and logic     65
Predicates and quantifiers     76
Descriptive Language
Descriptive language and belief     89
Biforcated attitude semantics     105
Assigning truth-conditions     120
An alternative approach     131
Extensions
Nondescriptivist semantics     151
The limits and costs of expressivism     164
References     188
Index     193

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