Antirealist Expressivism and Quasi-Realism

Simon Blackburn

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195325911
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Antirealist Expressivism and Quasi-Realism


This article aims to develop a position that explains the realist surface of everyday moral discourse without abandoning the underlying, antirealist doctrine of noncognitivism. This view is called “quasi-realism.” In this view, there are merely moral stances, such as moral approval and disapproval, but one has come to speak as if such stances are beliefs and as if there are properties such as wrongness. This position is sometimes called “projectivism,” drawing an analogy with the way a slide projector can make it seem as if there is. The trouble is that the quasi-realist will be tempted to think in a “minimalist” way about the use of the term “property”—a view that allows one to say a “property” is “expressed” by every predicate in the language, including moral predicates, but one that denies that this has any metaphysical significance.

Keywords: noncognitivism; quasi-realism; projectivism; minimalism; moral predicates

Article.  7916 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »