Sincerity and Expressivism

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What is it for a speech-act to be sincere? A very tempting answer, defended by John Searle and others, is that a speech-act is sincere just in case the speaker has the state of mind it expresses. I argue that we should instead hold that a speech-act is sincere just in case the speaker believes that she has the state of mind she believes it expresses (Sections 1 and 2). Scenarios in which speakers are deluded about their own states of mind play an important role in arguing for this account. In the course of developing this account I also explore how it might make good use of the often neglected distinction between insincerity and mere non-sincerity (Section 2). After defending and developing my positive proposal, I explore its implications for debates over expressivism in meta-ethics (Sections 3 and 4).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-510
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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