Noncognitivism in Ethics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Noncognitivism in Ethics

1st Edition

By Mark Schroeder


258 pages

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Paperback: 9780415773447
pub: 2010-03-09
Hardback: 9780415773430
pub: 2010-03-09
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pub: 2010-04-05
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According to noncognitivists, when we say that stealing is wrong, what we are doing is more like venting our feelings about stealing or encouraging one another not to steal, than like stating facts about morality. These ideas challenge the core not only of much thinking about morality and metaethics, but also of much philosophical thought about language and meaning.

Noncognitivism in Ethics is an outstanding introduction to these theories, ranging from their early history through the latest contemporary developments. Beginning with a general introduction to metaethics, Mark Schroeder introduces and assesses three principal kinds of noncognitivist theory: the speech-act theories of Ayer, Stevenson, and Hare, the expressivist theories of Blackburn and Gibbard, and hybrid theories. He pays particular attention both to the philosophical problems about what moral facts could be about or how they could matter which noncognitivism seeks to solve, and to the deep problems that it faces, including the task of explaining both the nature of moral thought and the complexity of moral attitudes, and the ‘Frege-Geach’ problem.

Schroeder makes even the most difficult material accessible by offering crucial background along the way. Also included are exercises at the end of each chapter, chapter summaries, and a glossary of technical terms - making Noncognitivism in Ethics essential reading for all students of ethics and metaethics.


'Noncognitivism in Ethics is the best introduction to noncognitivism and to the complex philosophical issues it generates that I have seen. It is written with teaching in mind. While the discussion is advanced enough to maintain the interest of even a professional reader, it presupposes very little. Schroeder always takes care to explain the point of any philosophical technique that might otherwise put off newcomers.' – Mark van Roojen, University of Nebraska, USA

'Noncognitivism in Ethics combines sparkling clear presentation and balanced critical assessment with extremely thoughtful and well-crafted sets of exercises that accompany each chapter. This is an ideal book for undergraduates beginning serious study of metaethics, while the more advanced exercises and masterful overview of the challenges confronting noncognitivist views also make this a perfect text for graduate seminars.' Mark Timmons, University of Arizona,USA

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The problems of metaethics 2. The noncognitivist turn 3. The Frege-Geach problem, 1939-1970 4. Expressivism 5. Moral thought 6. The Frege-Geach problem, 1973-1988 7. The Frege-Geach problem, 1988-2006 8. Truth and objectivity 9. Epistemology: wishful thinking 10. The hybrid gambit 11. prospects and applications. Glossary. Notes. Bibliography. Index

About the Series

New Problems of Philosophy

New Problems of Philosophy

Series Editor: José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M University

'Routledge's New Problems of Philosophy series has a most impressive line-up of topical volumes aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and at others with interests in cutting edge philosophical work. The authors are influential figures in their respective fields and notably adept at synthesizing and explaining intricate topics fairly and comprehensively.' - John Heil, Monash University, Australia, and Washington University, St Louis, USA

'This is an outstanding collection of volumes. The topics are well chosen and the authors are outstanding. They will be fine texts in a wide range of courses.' - Stephen Stich, Rutgers University, USA

The New Problems of Philosophy series provides accessible and engaging surveys of the most important problems in contemporary philosophy. Each book examines a topic or theme that has emerged on the philosophical landscape in recent years, or that is a longstanding problem refreshed in light of recent work in philosophy and related disciplines. Clearly explaining the nature of the problem at hand and assessing attempts to answer it, books in the series are excellent starting-points for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to study a single topic in depth. They will also be essential reading for professional philosophers. Additional features include chapter summaries, further reading, and a glossary of technical terms.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics