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Disentangling the Thick Concept Argument
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2007 (English)In: Sats: Nordic Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 1600-1974, Vol. 8, no 2, 63-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Critics argue that non-cognitivism cannot adequately account for the existence and nature of some thick moral concepts. They use the existence of thick concepts as a lever in an argument against non-cognitivism, here called the Thick Concept Argument (TCA). While TCA is frequently invoked, it is unfortunately rarely articulated. In this paper, TCA is first reconstructed on the basis of John McDowell’s formulation of the argument (from 1981), and then evaluated in the light of several possible non-cognitivist responses. In general, TCA assumes too much about what a non-cognitivist is (or must be) committed to. There are several non-cognitivist theories, and only some fit the view attacked by TCA. Furthermore, TCA rests on a contestable intuition about a thought experiment, here called the External Standpoint Experiment (ESE). It is concluded that TCA is remarkably weak, given how frequently the argument is invoked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för religion och kultur , 2007. Vol. 8, no 2, 63-78 p.
Keyword [en]
thick concepts, moral concepts, non-cognitivism, disentangling, John McDowell, Simon Blackburn
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-10473OAI: diva2:17223
Original publication: Olle Blomberg, Disentangling the Thick Concept Argument, 2007, Sats – Nordic Journal of Philosophy, (8), 2, 63-78. Copyright: Sats Nordic Journal of Philosophy, from: 2007-12-19 Created: 2007-12-19 Last updated: 2009-04-21

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