Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 445–455 | Cite as

Expressivism and Moral Dilemmas: A Response to Marino

Discussion

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 

References

  1. Blackburn S (1988) Attitudes and contents. Ethics 98:501–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blackburn S (1998) Ruling passions. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Geach PT (1960) Ascriptivism. Philos Rev 69:221–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Geach PT (1965) Assertion. Philos Rev 74:449–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gibbard A (2003) Thinking how to live. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. Gowans C (1987) The debate on moral dilemmas. In: Gowans C (ed) Moral dilemmas. Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp 3–33Google Scholar
  7. Hale B (1993) Can there be a logic of attitudes? In: Haldane J, Wright C (eds) Reality, representation and projection. Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp 337–364Google Scholar
  8. Horgan T, Timmons M (2006) Cognitivist expressivism. In: Horgan T, Timmons M (eds) Metaethics after Moore. Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp 255–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Marino P (2006) Expressivism, logic, consistency, and moral dilemmas. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice 9:517–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Schroeder M (2008) Being for. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. van Roojen M (1996) Expressivism and irrationality. Philos Rev 105:311–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Williams B (1981). Practical necessity. In: Williams B, Moral luck. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp 124–131Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

Personalised recommendations