There is a puzzle generated by three widely held views concerning ethical motivation and the semantics of ethical claims. Simultaneous commitment to Humeanism about motivation, Internalism about ethical claims, and the Semantic Continuity of ethical and nonethical discourse can seem inconsistent. In this paper, we explore a number of attempted resolutions of this puzzle—both incompatibilist and compatibilist—in the attempt to generate a new compatibilist solution. We argue that insufficient attention has been paid to the nature of expression in metaethical debate and that careful reflection about the distinction between two different notions of ‘express’ can reveal a novel compatibilist solution to the puzzle. This results in a “Neo-Expressivist” view of ethical claims, according to which ethical claims considered as acts of claim-making express motivational sentiments while ethical claims considered as products of such acts express truth-evaluable propositions.
|Title of host publication||Oxford Studies in Metaethics|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2009|