In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press (2009)

Michael Ridge
University of Edinburgh
Early expressivists, such as A.J. Ayer, argued that normative utterances are not truth-apt, and many found this striking claim implausible. After all, ordinary speakers are perfectly happy to ascribe truth and falsity to normative assertions. It is hard to believe that competent speakers could be so wrong about the meanings of their own language, particularly as these meanings are fixed by the conventions implicit in their own linguistic behavior. Later expressivists therefore tried to arrange a marriage between expressivism and the truth-aptness of normative discourse. Like many arranged marriages, this has not been an entirely happy one. In particular, the marriage has seemed to depend on so-called deflationist theories of truth, and these may well turn out to provide at best a shaky foundation for any marriage. Before advising the parties to file for divorce, though, we should first see whether expressivism itself has not been misunderstood. I argue that the marriage of expressivism to the truth-aptness of normative discourse can indeed be saved, though only in the context of a version of expressivism I call “Ecumenical Expressivism.”.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,290
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334-358.
Truthmaking, Metaethics, and Creeping Minimalism.Jamin Asay - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):213-232.
E Xpressivism and E Pistemology: E Pistemology for E Cumenical E Xpressivists.Michael Ridge - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):83-108.
Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
Hybrid Expressivism and Epistemic Justification.Martin Grajner - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2349-2369.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Expressivist Embeddings and Minimalist Truth.James Dreier - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):29-51.
Hard Cases for Combining Expressivism and Deflationist Truth: Conditionals and Epistemic Modals.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - In Steven Gross & Michael Williams (eds.), (unknown). Oxford University Press.
Expressivism and the Value of Truth.Neil Sinclair - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):877-883.
Disciplined Syntacticism and Moral Expressivism.James Lenman - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):32–57.
The Subjectivist Consequences of Expressivism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):364-387.
Expressivism and Plural Truth.Michael P. Lynch - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):385-401.


Added to PP index

Total views
85 ( #138,428 of 2,518,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,070 of 2,518,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes