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Metaethics after Moore$
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Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.001.0001

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Was Moore a Moorean?

Was Moore a Moorean?

Chapter:
(p.191) 9 Was Moore a Moorean? *
Source:
Metaethics after Moore
Author(s):

Jamie Derier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.003.0010

This chapter traces Moore's attempts — beginning in Principia Ethica up though his 1922 ‘The Conception of Intrinsic Value’ — to characterize the difference between natural and non-natural properties, finding the most plausible characterization in terms of a distinctive kind of non-logical supervenience relation that links the property of goodness to the natural properties upon which it supervenes. The problem with the appeal to a kind of non-logical supervenience is that it does not really help us to understand the idea that goodness is supposed to be non-natural: the property of being yellow does not logically follow from a characterization of those properties upon which it supervenes, but yellow is a paradigm natural property for Moore. Based on certain textual clues, the chapter proposes that Moore mis-described the distinction he sought to capture in his natural/non-natural properties distinction. What Moore was after is more aptly put as a distinction between description and evaluation; a distinction central to expressivist views. So why wasn't Moore an expressivist? Expressivists generally agree with Moore that there is a conceptual gap between the descriptive and the evaluative. It is argued that for the Moorean, this gap is a gap between properties, while for the expressivist it is not.

Keywords:   G. E. Moore, natural properties, supervenience, expressivism

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