Beddor, Noncognitivism and Epistemic Evaluations

Noncognitivism and Epistemic Evaluations
Bob Beddor
Philosophers’ Imprint, 2019, vol. 19, no. 10, pp. 1-27

This paper develops a new challenge for moral noncognitivism. In brief, the challenge is this: Beliefs — both moral and non-moral — are epistemically evaluable, whereas desires are not. It is tempting to explain this difference in terms of differences in the functional roles of beliefs and desires. However, this explanation stands in tension with noncognitivism, which maintains that moral beliefs have a desire-like functional role. After critically reviewing some initial responses to the challenge, I suggest a solution, which involves rethinking the functional relationship between desire and belief.