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Mind, Meaning, and KnowledgeThemes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright$
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Annalisa Coliva

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278053

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278053.001.0001

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Expression, Truth, and Reality: Some Variations on Themes from Wright

Expression, Truth, and Reality: Some Variations on Themes from Wright

(p.162) 6 Expression, Truth, and Reality: Some Variations on Themes from Wright
Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge

Dorit Bar-On

Oxford University Press

In several writings, Crispin Wright lists expressivism among the chief ‘anti-realist paradigms’, and an unsuccessful one at that. The success of expressivism at avoiding unwanted ontological commitments is purchased at the cost of denying that the relevant discourses ‘deal in truth-evaluable contents’. Yet Wright thinks that these discourses do possess truth-evaluability, since they exhibit all the ‘assertoric trappings’, which, on Wright’s minimalist conception, suffice for truth-aptitude and truth. The alliance standardly assumed to exist between expressivism, on the one hand, and the denial of truth-evaluability, as well as anti-realism, on the other, is unfortunate, though historically understandable. Following the neo-expressivist treatment of avowals in Bar-On (2004), this chapter explores the possibility of decoupling the core expressivist idea from the denial of truth-evaluability, and breaking its apparently necessary link to anti-realism. The result presents a viable option in various areas where philosophers have been drawn to expressivism — one which Wright himself may welcome.

Keywords:   expressivism, anti-realism, minimalism, truth-evaluability, truth, neo-expressivism, avowals

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