, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 161-180,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 May 2010

Logic for morals, morals from logic

Abstract

The need to distinguish between logical and extra-logical varieties of inference, entailment, validity, and consistency has played a prominent role in meta-ethical debates between expressivists and descriptivists. But, to date, the importance that matters of logical form play in these distinctions has been overlooked. That’s a mistake given the foundational place that logical form plays in our understanding of the difference between the logical and the extra-logical. This essay argues that descriptivists are better positioned than their expressivist rivals to provide the needed account of logical form, and so better able to capture the needed distinctions. This finding is significant for several reasons: First, it provides a new argument against expressivism. Second, it reveals that descriptivists can make use of this new argument only if they are willing to take a controversial—but plausible—stand on claims about the nature and foundations of logic.