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Propositional clothing and belief

Sinclair, Neil



Moral discourse is propositionally clothed, that is, it exhibits those features – such as the ability of its sentences to intelligibly embed in conditionals and other unasserted contexts – that have been taken by some philosophers to be constitutive of discourses that express propositions. If there is nothing more to a mental state being a belief than it being characteristically expressed by sentences that are propositionally clothed then the version of expressivism which accepts that moral discourse is propositionally clothed (‘quasi-realism’) is self-refuting. Fortunately for quasi-realists, this view of belief, which I label ‘minimalism’, is false. I present three arguments against it and dismiss two possible defences (the first drawn from the work of Wright, the second given by Harcourt). The conclusion is that the issue between expressivists and their opponents cannot be settled by the mere fact that moral discourse wears propositional clothing.


Sinclair, N. (2007). Propositional clothing and belief. Philosophical Quarterly, 57(228), doi:10.1111/j.1467-9213.2007.488.x

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2007
Deposit Date Feb 22, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2013
Journal The Philosophical Quarterly
Print ISSN 0031-8094
Electronic ISSN 1467-9213
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 228
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The definitive version is available at


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