Morality: Emotivism and Agreement

Stephen Mulhall

in Stanley Cavell

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238508
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679643 | DOI:
Morality: Emotivism and Agreement

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The central lineaments of Cavell's understanding of morality are laid out in the chapters that constitute part 3 of The Claim of Reason — chapters originally composed as part of his doctoral dissertation, and thus roughly contemporaneous with material collected in Must We Mean What We Say?. The guiding assumption is that rationality in moral debate may be a matter of agreement on patterns of support for conclusions rather than guaranteed agreement in conclusions, and he begins by suggesting that it is only the contrary assumption — predicated upon an excessive emphasis on logic and natural science as models of reasoning — which leads many philosophers to deny that moral argument can be seen as rational. In so doing, Cavell makes more explicit the point that those who identify the ability of logicians and scientists to reach agreement on conclusions as the criterion of the rationality of their practices may be completely misidentifying rather than completely describing our concept of rationality.

Keywords: Cavell; moral discourse; self; community

Chapter.  9433 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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