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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 114, Issue 4, April 2017

Sebastian Köhler
Pages 189-207
DOI: 10.5840/jphil2017114416

Expressivism, Belief, and All That

Meta-ethical expressivism was traditionally seen as the view that normative judgements are not beliefs. Recently, quasi-realists have argued, via a minimalist conception of “belief”, that expressivism is fully compatible with normative judgements being beliefs. This maneuver is successful, however, only if quasi-realists have really offered an expressivist-friendly account of belief that captures all platitudes characterizing belief. But, quasi-realists’ account has a crucial gap, namely how to account for the propositional contents of normative beliefs in an expressivist-friendly manner. In particular, quasi-realists haven’t yet developed their preferred option, a “minimalist” or “deflationist” account of such contents. This paper aims to close that gap. I argue that expressivists who accept conceptual role semantics and use an account of that-clauses in their use in belief-attributions based on Wilfrid Sellars’ work can give a deflationary account of the contents of beliefs that is compatible with normative judgements being beliefs, even if expressivism is true.