Discussion

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 445-455

Expressivism and Moral Dilemmas: A Response to Marino

  • Carl BakerAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Leeds Email author 

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Abstract

Simon Blackburn’s expressivist logic of attitudes aims to explain how we can use non-assertoric moral judgements in logically valid arguments. Patricia Marino has recently argued that Blackburn’s logic faces a dilemma: either it cannot account for the place of moral dilemmas in moral reasoning or, if it can, it makes an illicit distinction between two different kinds of moral dilemma. Her target is the logic’s definition of validity as satisfiability, according to which validity requires an avoidance of attitudinal inconsistency. Against Marino’s arguments, I contend that expressivists following Blackburn are able to show how we appreciate the validity of arguments found in dilemma-contexts, and that Marino’s argument concerning the distinction between contingent moral dilemmas and logical moral dilemmas rests on a mistake concerning the logical representation of a contingent dilemma.

Keywords

Blackburn Expressivism Consistency Moral dilemmas Frege–Geach problem