Habermas’s moral cognitivism and the Frege-Geach challenge

Finlayson, James Gordon (2005) Habermas’s moral cognitivism and the Frege-Geach challenge. European Journal Of Philosophy, 13 (3). pp. 319-344. ISSN 0966-8373

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Habermas’s Moral Cognitivism and the Frege-Geach challenge, JAMES GORDON FINLAYSON This article levels at Habermas’s discourse ethics a challenge more usually directed to theories denying moral discourse is truth-bearing. It argues that the same challenge applies to discourse ethics, because Habermas denies that moral utterances are truth-apt, and claims that they are only analogous to truth. Part I shows that Habermas’s view that there is only an analogy between truth and rightness rests on an unjustified worry that metaethical cognitivism implies moral realism. It concludes that Habermas simply assumes moral discourse is syntactically disciplined exactly like theoretical discourse, but cannot explain why this is. Part II argues that the only tenable responses open to Habermas are either 1. to combine deflationism about truth with the acceptance that moral utterances can be true, or 2. to refrain from offering any theory of truth and to prescind entirely from the metaethical question of cognitivism versus non-cognitvism. – Correspondence to James Gordon Finlayson, Department of Philosophy, University of Sussex, Arts B Building 340, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QN

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Keywords: Habermas, Truth, Justification, Moral Cognitivism
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state
Depositing User: Gordon Finlayson
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 14:43
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1722
Google Scholar:5 Citations

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