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Metaethics Out of Speech Acts? Moral Error Theory and the Possibility of Speech
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2019 (English)In: Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics / [ed] Christopher Cowie, Richard Rowland, Routledge, 2019, p. 73-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Are there moral facts? According to moral nihilism, the answer is no. Some moral nihilists are moral error theorists, who think that moral judgements purport to refer to moral facts, but since there are no moral facts, moral judgements are uniformly false or untrue. Terence Cuneo has recently raised an original and potentially very serious objection to moral error theory (Cuneo 2014). According to Cuneo’s ‘normative theory of speech’, normative facts, some of which are moral facts, are crucially involved in explanations of how it is that we are able to perform illocutionary speech acts, such as asserting, promising, and commanding. Many versions of moral error theory reject not only moral facts, but also normative facts of the kind Cuneo takes to be among the prerequisites of our abilities to perform illocutionary speech acts. If Cuneo’s argument is successful, then, moral error theory has the unsettling implication that we do not speak, and possibly that we cannot speak. I shall argue, however, that the argument ultimately fails, chiefly because its core premise fails to establish that illocutionary speech acts are normative in the first place.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019. p. 73-85
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Practical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176129ISBN: 978-1-138-31833-5 (print)ISBN: 978-0-429-45467-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176129DiVA, id: diva2:1372383
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-12-09Bibliographically approved

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