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Durham University

The Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr David Faraci

Faraci, David (2017). On Leaving Room for Doubt: Using Frege-Geach to Illuminate Expressivism's Problem with Objectivity. In Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Shafer-Landau, R. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 12: 244-264.

Author(s) from Durham


In print, the central objection to expressivism has been the Frege–Geach problem. Yet most cognitivists seem to be motivated by “deeper” worries, ones they have spent comparatively little time pursuing in print. Part of the explanation for this mismatch between motivation and rhetoric is likely that those deeper worries are largely metaphysical. Since expressivism is not a metaphysical view, it can be hard to see how to mount a relevant attack. The strategy in this chapter is to introduce claims about thought and language, rather than metaphysics, that represent common intuitions about normative objectivity. It then argues that popular forms of expressivism cannot accommodate these claims if they are to solve the negation problem—an aspect of Frege–Geach. If successful, this shows that expressivism really does have a problem accommodating normative objectivity. But, significantly, it does so without requiring any assumptions about what expressivist metaphysics look like.