Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Metaethics after Moore$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 January 2020

The Legacy of Principia

The Legacy of Principia

Chapter:
(p.233) 11 The Legacy of Principia
Source:
Metaethics after Moore
Author(s):

Judith Jarvis Thomson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.003.0012

This chapter argues that the legacy in question is that the force of the open question argument, together with the rejection of the Moorean idea that there are non-natural properties, motivate two related claims: the no normative truth value thesis, according to which no normative sentences have truth value; and the expressivist thesis, that in uttering or thinking a normative sentence, what one does is express a favourable or unfavourable attitude toward the object of evaluation. The chapter explores two main sources of reason for rejecting the first thesis: appeals to minimalism about truth, and the so-called Frege–Geach problem. It argues that appeals to minimalism about truth are ultimately circular. However, the Frege–Geach problem represents a more serious challenge to those who embrace the no normative truth value thesis. Attempts — particularly by expressivists — to rebut this challenge falter, but rather than embrace the Moorean position (or any metaethical position that would countenance the property goodness, or rightness), the chapter denies the claim that ‘is good’ is a logical predicate. Rather, sentences of the form, ‘A is good’ are semantically incomplete and thus ‘is good’ is not (in the requisite sense) a logical predicate. Normative claims that predicate goodness or rightness in a way, as when someone claims that so and so is a good baseball player or that a certain move in chess was the right move to make, are predicating genuine properties that are arguably natural. If this is correct, then Moore's open question argument has misled philosophers to fix upon the pseudo-property of goodness.

Keywords:   G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica, open question argument, nonnatural properties, truth value thesis, expressivism, expressivist thesis, minimalism about truth, Frege–Geach problem, goodness

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .