Sensibility Theory and Projectivism

Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Sensibility Theory and Projectivism

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This article lays out the geography of the territory. It distinguishes projectivism from “perceptivism,” which holds that the moral sentiments are responses to, or perceptions of, morally relevant features of the world. It distinguishes a purely dispositional variety of perceptivism from the “sensibility theory” that has been proposed by John McDowell (1985). Ultimately it argues that the projectivist and perceptual metaphors are both misleading. What it finds plausible is an idea that both views share the sentimentalist idea that, “evaluation is to be understood by way of human emotional response.” Sentimentalism is thus the thesis that evaluative concepts are response-invoking: they cannot be analyzed or elucidated without appeal to subjective responses,in particular, to the sentiments.

Keywords: projectivism; perceptivism; moral sentiments; sensibility theory; sentimentalism

Article.  15675 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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