Single Idea 8037

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / h. Expressivism]

Full Idea

Expression of feeling is not a function of the meaning of sentences, but of their use, as when a teacher shouts at a pupil "7 x 7 = 49!", where the expression of feeling or attitude has nothing whatsoever to do with its meaning.

Gist of Idea

The expression of feeling in a sentence is in its use, not in its meaning


Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue: a Study in Moral Theory [1981], Ch. 2)

Book Reference

MacIntyre,Alasdair: 'After Virtue: a Study in Moral Theory' [Duckworth 1982], p.13

A Reaction

This point is what underlies the Frege-Geach problem for emotivism, and is a very telling point. Apart from in metaethics, no one has ever put forward a theory of meaning that says it is just emotion. ...Unless it concerns speakers' intentions?