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Expressivism and the Value of Truth


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.

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  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).


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

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Correspondence to Neil Sinclair.

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Sinclair, N. Expressivism and the Value of Truth. Philosophia 40, 877–883 (2012).

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  • Expressivism
  • Truth