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Authors: Wilhelm, Yann
Title: Conceptualizing metaethics : a commentary on Prinz
Online publication date: 26-Oct-2016
Language: english
Abstract: In this commentary on Prinz’s “Naturalizing Metaethics” I shall first look briefly at his methodological assumptions. I will argue that Prinz’s approach is more radical and less conciliatory between analytical and empirical approaches than it seems from his own description. In the second part of my commentary, I shall look at one possible objection to Prinz’s sentimentalism: the evidence he presents does not provide the needed modal strength for sentimentalism. I shall present two example of this objection, and argue that Prinz’s own depiction doesn’t adequately represent it. I shall then use the helpful distinction offered by Jon Tresan between de dicto- and de re-internalism to analyze underlying problems in the objection. I will present another way of reacting to it, which I think fits nicely with Prinz’s naturalized methodology. In the last part, I shall look at his critique of non-cognitivism. Prinz argues that non-cognitivism makes certain linguistic predictions that turn out to be wrong: if non-cognitivism were true we would expect our moral language to reflect this. I will argue that there are many forms of non-cognitivism that predict this surface grammar. The key idea is that non-cognitivism entails a pragmatic theory of moral language. I then offer a speculative explanation about why the moral language has its surface form. This speculation, I argue, has at least the same amount of plausibility as cognitivist theories. Furthermore, this possible explanation is open to empirical investigation. I agree with Prinz that, ultimately, metaethical theories should be tested against empirical evidence. Prinz presents conceptual and empirical work as mutually enhancing enterprises. My commentary is, I hope, a small contribution highlighting the conceptual side of the coin.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-550332
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: In Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 30(C)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570689
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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