A Dilemma for Non-descriptive Cognitivism
Master of Arts
Date of Defense
Professor Berit Brogaard
It has been assumed traditionally that cognitive content and descriptive content are coextensional; all cognitive contents are descriptive and non-descriptive contents are non-cognitive. Horgan and Timmons try to break some new ground in metaethics by proposing that “in addition to descriptive beliefs, there are (moral) evaluative beliefs which are neither reducible to, nor a species of, beliefs of the former type.” They believe that moral beliefs do not describe moral facts. In what follows I will focus on what they call non-descriptive (moral) beliefs. I shall argue that their view faces a dilemma: either they should accept that moral beliefs are indeed descriptive, or their view is blocked by the Frege-Geach problem. Also, I shall argue that their framework is incapable of providing a clear notion of moral progress.
Shahmoradi, Ayoob, "A Dilemma for Non-descriptive Cognitivism" (2013). Theses. 187.