Two Arguments for Emotivism and a Methodological Moral: Russell, Ayer and Moore

Wednesday 15 November 2017, 4.00PM to 5.30pm

Speaker: Dr Charles Pigden, University of Otago, New Zealand

Talk title: Two Arguments for Emotivism and a Methodological Moral: Russell, Ayer and Moore

Abstract:

In 1913 Russell gave up on the Moorean good. But since naturalism was not an option that still left two alternatives: the error-theory and non-cognitivism. On the whole, Russell preferred non-cognitivism. Why? Because emotivism sorts better with Russell’s Fundamental Principle that the ‘sentences we can understand must be composed of words with whose meaning we are acquainted’. I construct an argument for emotivism featuring the Fundamental Principle that closely parallels Ayer’s verificationist argument in Langauge, Truth and Logic. I contend that Russell’s argument, like Ayer’s, is vulnerable to a Moorean critique. This suggests an important moral: revisionist theories of meaning such as verificationism and the Fundamental Principle are prima facie false. Ditto revisionist theories of the meanings of the moral terms such as emotivism.

For further information about Dr Charles Pigden please see: http://www.otago.ac.nz/philosophy/dept/staff-pigden.html

 

Location: Department of Philosophy, Sally Baldwin Building, Block A, SB/A009

Admission: Departmental colloquium members and postgraduate students.