Metaethics, teleosemantics and the function of moral judgements

Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):639-662 (2012)
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Abstract

This paper applies the theory of teleosemantics to the issue of moral content. Two versions of teleosemantics are distinguished: input-based and output-based. It is argued that applying either to the case of moral judgements generates the conclusion that such judgements have both descriptive (belief-like) and directive (desire-like) content, intimately entwined. This conclusion directly validates neither descriptivism nor expressivism, but the application of teleosemantics to moral content does leave the descriptivist with explanatory challenges which the expressivist does not face. Since teleosemantics ties content to function, the paper also offers an account of the evolutionary function of moral judgements.

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Author's Profile

Neil Sinclair
Nottingham University

Citations of this work

Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
The function of morality.Nicholas Smyth - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1127-1144.
Rescuing tracking theories of morality.Marc Artiga - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3357-3374.
Morality as an Evolutionary Exaptation.Marcus Arvan - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 89-109.

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References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
Wise choices, apt feelings: a theory of normative judgment.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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