Essays in Ethical Theory by Richard M

Hare thought we could model the logic of speech acts by employing oneelement that represented a possible way things might be (the phrastic)and a second element that in effect gave instruction for how tointerpret the point of the representation (the neustic). For ourpurposes here we can think of the first element as the contents of theattitude expressed by the speech act and it would not distort thetheory too much to say they are propositions. On this way ofpresenting things, several different speech acts expressing a numberof different attitudes will all involve the same phrastic. Thedifferences between them will be represented by differences in theneustic. The belief that will be expressed by a speech actwhich is represented by a neustic that reflects the status ofassertion and a phrastic that represents . A question aboutwhether is the case will be represented by the same phrastic,but a different neustic—the one that represents the speech actas a question rather than an assertion. The sentence which expressesthe thought that is good (say) will also employ this samephrastic. What distinguishes it from the first two is once again theneustic which will reflect that this judgement is a universalprescription to bring about . This means that we cannotcompute the logical compatibility or incompatibility of two judgementsby noting the compatibility or incompatibility of their phrasticswhich we are treating as their contents. The assertion of andthe attitude it expresses is different from the assertionthat is good and the attitude it expresses. Standardsemantic theory captures this by assigning these judgements differentcontents. Within the theory which treats the phrastic as the content,the difference must be captured by assigning them different neusticsas a reflection that they're supposed to be different kinds of speechacts and to express different kinds of attitudes. There isn't yet aproblem with that. But insofar as the judgements clearly havedifferent consistency conditions and involve different logicalcommitments the resulting logic must now include principles that allowdifferences in attitude type to matter to consistency andinconsistency.

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We've already noted a tendency for emotivists and prescriptiviststo allow a kind of secondary descriptive meaning for moral terms overand above their expressive meaning in order to capture the way thatmoral statements can be used to convey descriptive information. If Iknow that you are a utilitarian you might convey the information thatan action maximizes utility by telling me that it is right. In suchcases, what the speaker successfully conveys depends on the audience'sknowledge of the speaker's moral views. One sort of hybrid theoristincorporates this idea into the semantics of moral expressions. Suchtheorists suggest that moral utterances as a matter of their semanticspredicate a property, one which is determined by the speaker's moralattitudes, while at the same time expressing a non-cognitive attitudetowards that property. Proponents hope that the view will haveadvantage in explaining the communication of factual information withmoral terms and with handling the embedding problem (explained below),while also explaining the motivational efficacy of moraljudgements. One implementation of this view equates the main semanticcontent of a moral predicate with the property it picks out (via afunction from the speaker's attitudes to the relevant properties),while use of the predicate conventionally implicates the presence of apro or con attitude. (Barker, 2000) A different implementation of thestrategy incorporates both components into the semantic values ofmoral terms, even while the descriptive content is a function of thenon-cognitive attitude expressed. More specifically on this way ofdeveloping the idea, moral sentences to the effect that something isright semantically both express a proposition—that the action has aparticular property—and a particular positive attitude toward thatparticular property. The particular property picked out itself dependson the non-cognitive attitudes of the speaker, insofar as the propertypredicated is the most general property towards which the speakerholds the non-cognitive attitudes expressed by the very samejudgement(Ridge, 2006a, 2006b). One upshot is that the descriptivecontent of a speaker's judgements can vary over time as the object ofher attitudes change. John Eriksson(2009) suggests that R. M. Hare wasan early adopter of this kind of hybrid theory.

Philosophical Dictionary: Habermas-Hayek

Garrett, Jeremy (ed.). 2012. The Ethics Of Animal Research: Exploring the Controversy. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Smith, Jane A. and Kenneth M. Boyd (eds.). 1991. Lives in the Balance: The Ethics of Using Animals in Biomedical Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Often philosophical positions are introduced in rather pure and starkversions, only to be modified in light of arguments and objections soas to become more like competing theories over time. It should not betoo surprising that this is the case in metaethics and that presentday non-cognitivist theories are less distinguishable from cognitivistalternatives than earlier versions. It can even be a controversialmatter whether theories developed within the non-cognitivist traditionbut modified to handle objections still deserve the label. Thevarieties of emotivism which postulate both descriptive meaning andemotive meaning have sometimes aroused such suspicions and the moredeveloped hybrids discussed at the end of this section are in thattradition. Furthermore, while paradigm non-cognitivists accept each ofthe two negative theses outlined above, there are views which acceptonly one of the two without the other. These positions constitute twometaethical theories which we might think of as borderline cases lyingjust outside the non-cognitivist region of logical space.

Nick Fotion, "Essays on Political Morality

Hermeneutic moral fictionalists are not semanticnon-factualists. Moral sentences are regarded as genuinelytruth-apt. Such sentences do have truth conditions and an assertivesentence using a moral predicate does predicate a property. Yet, innormal use these sentences are not strictly speaking true. Thus farthe hermeneutic fictionalist agrees with error theorists. But whileerror theorists think that the falsity of moral sentences implies thatordinary moral talk is massively in error, fictionalistsdisagree. According to the hermeneutic fictionalist a speaker utteringa false moral sentence is typically not expressing a belief in thecontent expressed by the sentence. Rather such speakers are using itfictively, and this use involves no error. Thus, fictionalists arepsychological non-cognitivists. Use of a moral sentence does notcommunicate that the speaker believes the proposition expressed bythat sentence. Rather speakers use such sentences to express other,non-cognitive states of mind. Just as with standard versions ofnon-cognitivism, fictionalists will generally offer a story about thenature of the non-cognitive attitude expressed. For example, they maysuggest that the state of mind is an intention to act as if the moraljudgment expressing the intention is true (Kalderon 2005b). At thesame time, because they are not pursuing the expressivist semanticprogram the expression relation need not be exactly what ordinaryexpressivists take it to be. Since they need not require a one–to–onemapping of moral sentences onto states of mind that express them tosupport their semantic theory, fictionalists can allow for morevariation in the states of mind such sentences (loosely)express. Hermeneutic fictionalism is often contrasted withrevolutionary fictionalism. Revolutionary moral fictionalists think weshould reform our current cognitively committed use of normativelanguage to work roughly as the hermeneutic fictionalist thinks wealready do. (Joyce 2001, 2005) They are thus not committed tonon-cognitivism about actual current use of moral terms in the way thathermeneutic fictionalists seem to be. Revolutionary fictionalistscould be read as proposing that we convert to using moral language toexpress something other than belief with our indicative moralsentences, but revolutionary fictionalists have not usually presentedtheir reforms in that way. That should not be toosurprising. Fictionalist rejection of semantic nonfactualism leadsmost taxonomists to omit fictionalism from the non-cognitivistgenus. Still at least one prominent hermeneutic fictionalist haspresented his view as a version of non-cognitivism (Kalderon 2005b)drawing on some comments in MacIntyre (1981, 15–18).