Why the Negation Problem Is Not a Problem for Expressivism

Noûs 48 (2):824-845 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The Negation Problem states that expressivism has insufficient structure to account for the various ways in which a moral sentence can be negated. We argue that the Negation Problem does not arise for expressivist accounts of all normative language but arises only for the specific examples on which expressivists usually focus. In support of this claim, we argue for the following three theses: 1) a problem that is structurally identical to the Negation Problem arises in non-normative cases, and this problem is solved once the hidden quantificational structure involved in such cases is uncovered; 2) the terms ‘required’, ‘permissible’, and ‘forbidden’ can also be analyzed in terms of hidden quantificational structure, and the Negation Problem disappears once this hidden structure is uncovered; 3) the Negation Problem does not arise for normative language that has no hidden quantificational structure. We conclude that the Negation Problem is not really a problem about expressivism at all but is rather a feature of the quantificational structure of the required, permitted, and forbidden



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The problem with the Frege–Geach problem.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):635-665.
Quasi-realism, negation and the Frege-Geach problem.Nicholas Unwin - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):337-352.
Norms and Negation: A Problem for Gibbard’s Logic.Nicholas Unwin - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (202):60-75.
Expressing Credences.Daniel Rothschild - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (1pt1):99-114.
Are expressivists guilty of wishful thinking?Robert Mabrito - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1069-1081.
Being for: evaluating the semantic program of expressivism.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Mark Schroeder.
Unity and the Frege–Geach problem.Christopher Hom & Jeremy Schwartz - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):15-24.
Divine hoorays: Some parallels between expressivism and religious ethics.Nicholas Unwin - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):659-684.
Expressivism, Inferentialism, and the Theory of Meaning.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.


Added to PP

951 (#14,028)

6 months
94 (#43,387)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Jeremy Schwartz
Texas Tech University
Christopher Hom
Texas Tech University

Citations of this work

Advice for Noncognitivists.Malte Willer - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):174–207.
A Primitive Solution to the Negation Problem.Derek Shiller - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):725-740.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
The methods of ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes Press. Edited by Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones.
Thinking how to live.Allan Gibbard - 2003 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

View all 43 references / Add more references