A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):87-122 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is often observed in metaethics that moral language displays a certain duality in as much as it seems to concern both objective facts in the world and subjective attitudes that move to action. In this paper, I defend The Dual Aspect Account which is intended to capture this duality: A person’s utterance of a sentence according to which φing has a moral characteristic, such as “φing is wrong,” conveys two things: The sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional meaning, the belief that φing has a moral property, and the utterance of the sentence carries a generalized conversational implicature to the effect that the person in question has an action-guiding attitude in relation to φing. This account has significant advantages over competing views: (i) As it is purely cognitivist, it does not have the difficulties of expressivism and various ecumenical positions. (ii) Yet, in spite of this, it can explain the close, “meaning-like,” connection between moral language and attitudes. (iii) In contrast to other pragmatic accounts, it is compatible with any relevant cognitivist view. (iv) It does not rest on a contentious pragmatic notion, such as conventional implicature. (v) It does not imply that utterances of complex moral sentences, such as conditionals, convey attitudes. In addition, the generalized implicature in question is fully calculable and cancellable

Similar books and articles

Exhaustive interpretation of complex sentences.Robert van Rooij & Katrin Schulz - 2004 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 13 (4):491-519.
An Internalist Dilemma—and an Externalist Solution.Caj Strandberg - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (1):25-51.
Value and implicature.Stephen Finlay - 2005 - Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-20.
Scalar implicature and local pragmatics.Bart Geurts - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (1):51-79.
Hybridizing Moral Expressivism and Moral Error Theory.Toby Svoboda - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):37-48.
The Pragmatics of Moral Motivation.Caj Strandberg - 2011 - The Journal of Ethics 15 (4):341-369.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-12-01

Downloads
1,307 (#4,905)

6 months
77 (#14,169)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Caj Strandberg
University of Oslo

Citations of this work

Disagreement Lost and Found.Stephen Finlay - 2017 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 12. Oxford University Press. pp. 187-205.
Practical Commitment in Normative Discourse.Pekka Vayrynen - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
Aesthetic Predicates: A Hybrid Dispositional Account.Teresa Marques - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):723-751, doi:10.1080/0020174X.20.
One Ought Too Many.Stephen Finlay & Justin Snedegar - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):102-124.

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Studies in the Way of Words.Herbert Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

View all 71 references / Add more references