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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 6, pp 1385–1409 | Cite as

Expressivism and realist explanations

  • Camil Golub
Article

Abstract

It is often claimed that there is an explanatory divide between an expressivist account of normative discourse and a realist conception of normativity: more precisely, that expressivism and realism offer conflicting explanations of (1) the metaphysical structure of the normative realm, (2) the connection between normative judgment and motivation, (3) our normative beliefs and any convergence thereof, or (4) the content of normative thoughts and claims. In this paper I argue that there need be no such explanatory conflict. Given a minimalist approach to the relevant metaphysical and semantic notions, expressivism is compatible with any explanation that would be acceptable as a general criterion for realism.

Keywords

Expressivism Realism Quasi-realism Explanation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Martín Abreu Zavaleta, Brian Ballard, Cian Dorr, Hartry Field, Laura Franklin-Hall, Jed Lewinsohn, Colin Marshall, Tom Nagel, Sharon Street, David Velleman, and two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. I have also greatly benefited from discussions with Max Barkhausen, Harjit Bhogal, Paul Boghossian, Jamie Dreier, Ian Grubb, Dan Waxman, and Mike Zhao. Finally, many thanks to audiences at New York University, the 2015 Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the 2016 British Society for Ethical Theory Conference at Cardiff University for their useful feedback.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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