Philosophical Studies

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 191–207

Normative uncertainty for non-cognitivists


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-011-9713-6

Cite this article as:
Sepielli, A. Philos Stud (2012) 160: 191. doi:10.1007/s11098-011-9713-6


Normative judgments involve two gradable features. First, the judgments themselves can come in degrees; second, the strength of reasons represented in the judgments can come in degrees. Michael Smith has argued that non-cognitivism cannot accommodate both of these gradable dimensions. The degrees of a non-cognitive state can stand in for degrees of judgment, or degrees of reason strength represented in judgment, but not both. I argue that (a) there are brands of noncognitivism that can surmount Smith’s challenge, and (b) any brand of non-cognitivism that has even a chance of solving the Frege–Geach Problem and some related problems involving probabilistic consistency can also thereby solve Smith’s problem. Because only versions of non-cognitivism that can solve the Frege–Geach Problem are otherwise plausible, all otherwise plausible versions of noncognitivism can meet Smith’s challenge.


Non-cognitivism Normative uncertainty Frege–Geach Problem Michael Smith Expressivism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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