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Bar-On, Dorit, , James Sias. Varieties of Expressivism
2013, Philosophy Compass 8(8): 699-713.
Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

Abstract: After offering a characterization of what unites versions of ‘expressivism’, we highlight a number of dimensions along which expressivist views should be distinguished. We then separate four theses often associated with expressivism – a positive expressivist thesis, a positive constitutivist thesis, a negative ontological thesis, and a negative semantic thesis – and describe how traditional expressivists have attempted to incorporate them. We argue that expressivism in its traditional form may be fatally flawed, but that expressivists nonetheless have the resources for preserving what is essential to their view. These resources comprise a re-configuring of expressivism, the result of which is the view we call ‘neo-expressivism’. After illustrating how the neo-expressivist model works in the case of avowals and ethical claims, we explain how it avoids the problems of traditional expressivism.

Comment: This paper provides a clear discussion of the core principles of expressivism. Moreover, it engages with classic objections (e.g. the Frege-Geach problem) and develops the neo-expressivist proposal as a response. It is an accessible starting point for neo-expressivism and as such both suitable for meta-ethics and epistemology courses discussing expressivist positions.

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