Cognitivist Expressivism

Terence E Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

93 Scopus citations


This chapter challenges the so-called semantic assumption - according to which beliefs are necessarily descriptive in that they purport to represent or describe some state of affairs - by arguing that moral judgments share enough of the phenomenological and functional features that are central to the notion of belief, to count as genuine beliefs; a notion that does not require beliefs to be primarily descriptive. This opens the door to a cognitivist version of expressivism. The chapter sketches a version of cognitivist expressivism, including an account of logical embedding (meant to deal with the Frege- Geach problem), which it argued as prima facie more plausible than non-cognitivist and descriptivist alternatives in metaethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMetaethics after Moore
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191710032
ISBN (Print)0199269912, 9780199269914
StatePublished - Jan 26 2006


  • Cognitivist expressivism
  • Descriptive beliefs
  • Descriptivism
  • Frege-geach problem
  • Logical embedding
  • Noncognitivism
  • Phenomenology
  • Semantic assumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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