Mind-Dependence and Cognitivism

Nicos Stavropoulos

in Objectivity in Law

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198258995
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681899 | DOI:
Mind-Dependence and Cognitivism

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This chapter examines whether Kripke-Putnam semantics may be applicable in the analysis of law. One objection is that Kripke-Putnam semantics (K-P) semantics is appropriate, if at all, only for concrete, perceptually salient entities, and not for abstract properties like the ones that legal concepts may be said to designate. Mind-dependence makes legal concepts inappropriate for K-P semantics, since that analysis requires that its objects be in the ‘external world’. This chapter explores the objection from mind-dependence and connects it with similar objections raised in ethics. It discusses non-cognitivism concerning values, which is supposed to be a consequence of the mind-dependence of evaluative properties, as well as subjectivism about values and its relation to non-cognitivism. It also looks at the conceptions of subjectivity and objectivity implicit in non-cognitivism and argues that both conceptions are wrong. It analyses what is the right sort of scepticism in ethics and contends that no global scepticism succeeds, while selective scepticism is possible and in fact militates for the objectivity of evaluative judgment.

Keywords: Kripke-Putnam semantics; mind-dependence; cognitivism; non-cognitivism; law; ethics; values; subjectivism; objectivity; scepticism

Chapter.  22321 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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