Noûs 48 (3):573-593 (2014)

Authors
Pekka Väyrynen
University of Leeds
Abstract
Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general factors that have nothing in particular to do with being evaluative. If so, there is no reason to expect ST to carry the sorts of metaethical implications that get attributed to it. I also show that my main argument is robust across certain complications that are raised by the context-sensitivity of many evaluative terms but have so far been ignored in discussions of ST and related matters.
Keywords Metaethics  Shapelessness  Evaluative concepts  Moral semantics  Anti-reductionism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2012.00877.x
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References found in this work BETA

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Citations of this work BETA

Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thick Concepts and Sociological Research.Gabriel Abend - 2019 - Sociological Theory 37 (3):209-233.
Normative Naturalism on Its Own Terms.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):505-530.

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