Volume 50, Issue 1, Spring 2022
Inferentialism on Naturalized Grounds
Family Feuds? Relativism, Expressivism, and Disagreements about Disagreement
In Expressing Our Attitudes (OUP, 2015), Mark Schroeder speculates about the relation between expressivism and relativism. Noting that “John MacFarlane has wondered whether relativism is expressivism done right,” he suggests that this may get things back to front: “it is worth taking seriously the idea that expressivism is relativism done right” (Schroeder 2015, 25). In this piece, motivated both by Schroeder’s suggestion and by recent work from Lionel Shapiro, I compare and contrast my version of expressivism with MacFarlane’s version of relativism. I identify some significant differences concerning the treatment of linguistic disagreement, but conclude that despite these differences, MacFarlane’s version of relativism counts as a version of expressivism in my sense, in most of the respects that matter.