Normative realism is the view that there are objective normative facts, i.e. facts about what is good, right, or rational, and many of our beliefs about these facts are true. Expressivism about normative discourse is the view that normative claims express desire-like mental states, such as attitudes of approval and disapproval, rather than ordinary beliefs. These two perspectives on normativity are in tension, yet each seems to capture something essential about normative thought: realism makes good on intuitions about truth and objectivity that seem non-negotiable from the engaged perspective of a deliberating agent, while expressivism accounts for the motivational force of normative thought and for the possibility of radical disagreement on normative matters.
This project aims to reconcile normative realism and expressivism about normative discourse via three research objectives: (1) arguing that all forms of expressivism (i.e., semantic, pragmatic, meta-semantic) can be made compatible with realism; (2) defending a meta-semantic version of expressivism by isolating its philosophical benefits; (3) showing that not only is expressivism compatible with a commitment to objective normative truths, but it needs to be combined with such a commitment in order to fully account for normative disagreement. Each research objective will yield one stand-alone paper, and together they will result in a book proposal.
These deliverables will help re-integrate the ER into the European philosophical community and establish him as one of the leading European experts in metaethics.
Call for proposal
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