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Moral expressivism and sentential negation

Sinclair, Neil



This paper advances three necessary conditions on a successful account of sentential negation. First, the ability to explain the constancy of sentential meaning across negated and unnegated contexts (the Fregean Condition). Second, the ability to explain why sentences and their negations are inconsistent, and inconsistent in virtue of the meaning of negation (the Semantic Condition). Third, the ability of the account to generalize regardless of the topic of the negated sentence (the Generality Condition). The paper discusses three accounts of negation available to moral expressivists. The first – the ‘dominant commitment account’ – fails to meet the Fregean Condition. The two remaining accounts – one suggested by commitment semantics and the other by recent analyses of the ‘expression’ relation – satisfy all three conditions. Mark Schroeder’s argument that the dominant commitment account is the only option available to expressivists is considered and rejected.


Sinclair, N. (2011). Moral expressivism and sentential negation. Philosophical Studies, 152(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2011
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2012
Publicly Available Date Mar 14, 2012
Journal Philosophical Studies
Print ISSN 0554-0739
Electronic ISSN 1573-0883
Publisher Philosophy Documentation Center
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 152
Issue 3
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The original publication is available at Springer via


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