Skip to main content

Expressivism and the Value of Truth

Abstract

Expressivism in its most theoretically virtuous forms aspires to be an account of all evaluative claims. In a recent paper, Lynch (2009) has argued that expressivism cannot accommodate claims about the value of truth, since an expressivist account of any normative claim requires a ‘normatively disengaged standpoint’ which is unavailable in the case of truth (one cannot cease to value truth while still being an inquirer). In this paper I argue that Lynch’s objection to expressivism rests on an ambiguity. The expressivist can distinguish between a standpoint that is committed to certain evaluations and a standpoint that employs those evaluations in its explanations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Unless otherwise stated, all subsequent page references are to this paper.

  2. 2.

    See Timmons (1999:12) and Darwall et al. (1992: 125–127).

  3. 3.

    The first quote is from Gibbard (2003: 186), the second from Dworkin (1996: 88). See also Blackburn (1998: 295).

References

  1. Blackburn, S. (1998). Ruling passions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Darwall, S., Gibbard, A., & Railton, P. (1992). Toward Fin de Siècle ethics: some trends. Philosophical Review, 101(1), 115–189.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Dworkin, R. (1996). Objectivity and truth: you’d better believe it. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 25(2), 87–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Gibbard, A. (2003). Thinking how to live. London: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Lynch, M. (2009). Truth, value and epistemic expressivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 79(1), 76–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Timmons, M. (1999). Morality without foundations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Research time for this article was provided by an Early Career Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Neil Sinclair.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sinclair, N. Expressivism and the Value of Truth. Philosophia 40, 877–883 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-012-9372-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Expressivism
  • Truth