Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):831-847 (2016)

One important trend in the debate over expressivism and cognitivism is the emergence of ‘hybrid’ or ‘ecumenical’ theories. According to such theories, moral sentences express both beliefs, as cognitivism has it, and desire-like states, as expressivism has it. One may wonder, though, whether the hybrid move is as novel as its advocates seem to take it to be—or whether it simply leads us back to the conceptions of early expressivists, such as Charles Stevenson or Richard Hare. Michael Ridge has recently argued that we ought not to see Hare as a hybrid expressivist because Hare’s approach allows for moral sentences that do not express any descriptive beliefs at all. Yet, Ridge’s reading has been challenged by John Eriksson, who even goes as far as to claim that modern hybrid expressivists should follow in Hare’s footsteps because it is Hare’s framework that actually provides a solution to the so-called ‘Frege-Geach problem’. In the present paper, I first want to show that we can defend Eriksson’s reading with regard to the official version of Hare’s theory. I will, secondly, argue that, in line with what we may take to be Ridge’s critical perspective on Hare, this official version faces serious difficulties, resulting from the possibility of unknown speaker standards. Thirdly, I will demonstrate that a modern reconstruction of Hare in terms of what I will refer to as ‘de dicto beliefs’, though in principle possible, will not allow us to solve the ‘Frege-Geach problem’
Keywords Hybrid expressivism  Ecumenical expressivism  Hare  Frege-Geach problem  Relational expressivism
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-015-9681-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Morals.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1952 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Reason.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1963 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

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