By Mark Timmons
During this e-book Timmons defends a metaethical view that exploits convinced contextualist subject matters in philosophy of language and epistemology. He advances what he calls assertoric non-descriptivism, a view that employs semantic contextualism in giving an account of ethical discourse. This view, which like conventional non-descriptivist perspectives stresses the sensible, action-guiding functionality of ethical idea and discourse, additionally permits that ethical sentences, as normally used, make real assertions. Timmons then defends a contextualist ethical epistemology therefore finishing his total software of contextualism in ethics.
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If one fails to clearly distinguish semantic questions about moral discourse from ontological questions (recall the quote from Frankena), Mackie's skeptical position tends to be hidden from view. Again, the move away from the narrow methodological outlook of analytic philosophy helped create a philosophical environment in which new philosophical views were articulated and defended. Of particular interest to this discussion are some of the developments in the 1960s and 1970s in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.
Here, I am particularly interested in how D1 and D2, interpreted in light of philosophical naturalism, pushed and pulled the major players of the analytic period in various metaethical directions, and how the project of naturalistic accommodation looked at this time. Ideally, as I have said, one would like to satisfy both desiderata. If we begin with D1 — the requirement that a plausible metaethical view should comport with deeply embedded assumptions of ordinary moral discourse — we find that such discourse embeds those features characteristic of typical fact-stating discourse.
Quite simply, they can't have it both ways; they can satisfy one of the basic desiderata constraining metaethical inquiry only at the expense of violating the other. Let me mention before going on that part of my aim in SSI—V is to set up my presentation and critique of new wave moral realism by providing some background in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language that have been exploited in the development of this metaethical view. Doing so helps one appreciate (I think) the initial plausibility of the view.
Morality without Foundations: A Defense of Ethical Contextualism by Mark Timmons