Standard noncognitivists claim that moral judgment is not belief in a moral proposition but is, rather, a noncognitive attitude more akin to desire; that this noncognitive attitude is expressed by our public moral utterances; and, hence, that our public moral utterances lack a distinctively moral subject matter and so are not answerable to the moral facts. Notice, however, that these are logically distinct claims – the first is a psychological claim, the second and third, positive and negative semantic claims, respectively. We can regiment the familiar technical vocabulary as follows:

  • Cognitivists claim that moral acceptance is best explained by moral belief while noncognitivists claim that moral acceptance is best explained by attitudes other than moral belief. This difference is partly a difference in the nature of the attitudes involved in moral commitment (whether they are cognitive or noncognitive) and partly a difference in the content...

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