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Expressivism has attracted a lot of attention recently and has several new and subtle defenders. This book is the first sustained and systematic critique of this popular position. It is extremely well done: clear, careful, and thorough.
Schroeder’s Being For is the most sophisticated investigation to date of the prospects for expressivist semantics. The book sets out and argues for a set of constraints on expressivist handling of the infamous “embedding problem”, shows what a solution would look like, and explains the substantive commitments that such a solution must take on board. It is a philosophically serious and technically rigorous argument, and it establishes a kind of plateau from which future work on the subject will have to proceed.
All of the main points in this book will over time be assimilated into future work on these topics. Even as that happens people will want to go back to reread Schroeder’s exposition for its clear presentation and careful argument. It is hard to convey in a review the evident creativity with which Schroeder constructs solutions to problems for a research program he doesn’t himself endorse. But it makes engaging reading. More importantly, Schroeder’s excellent sense for the large picture and the explanatory burdens of philosophical theorizing inform the entire discussion at every level of detail. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of expressivism.
An extremely impressive book - equally remarkable for the power of its arguments, for its clarity and precision, and for its striking inventiveness and methodological rigour. Above all, there is one striking respect in which it rises head and shoulders above all recent contributions to these debates.... [Schroeder] has articulated his version of expressivism in more precise detail than any of the avowed proponents of expressivism have ever done; and he never presents an objection to expressivism without deploying all of his formidable ingenuity to search for an expressivist response to the objection. In this way, he has taken the debate over the merits and demerits of expressivism to a new level of philosophical rigour and sophistication.... In short, this is an absolutely terrific book. No one who wants to think carefully about the semantic program of expressivism can afford to give it anything less than their most serious attention.
[Q]uite impressive.... Being For [is] required reading for anyone with an interest in metaethics.
required reading for anyone interested in the expressivist program in meta-ethics.
Last updated 5.23.2017.