Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


The Meaning of 'Ought' : Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics, Hardback Book

The Meaning of 'Ought' : Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics Hardback

Part of the Oxford Moral Theory series


The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word.

In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have.

This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a centralpart of the explanation of their meaning.

But Chrisman argues that this leaves important metasemantic questions about what it is in virtue of which ought-sentences have the meanings that they have unanswered.

His appeal to inferentialism aims to provide a viable anti-descriptivist but alsoanti-expressivist answer to these questions.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of language
  • ISBN: 9780199363001

Also in the Oxford Moral Theory series   |  View all