Emotive Realism Ch. 2

Here is the (rough draft) of the second chapter of the dissertation. Again, comments are welcome!

Emotive Realism Ch. 2 –Language and Metaethics

A propos of all the recent discussion of Berkeley, here is an excerpt

It had been long recognized that language can be used to do more than to merely describe the world. This is explicit in Berkeley, especially in Section 20 of the Introduction to his Principles (Berkeley 1710/1998). He there says,

Besides, the communicating of ideas marked by words is not the chief and only end of language, as is commonly supposed. There are other ends, as the raising of some passion, the exciting to, or deterring from an action, the putting the mind in some particular disposition…I entreat the reader to reflect with himself, and see if it doth not often happen either in hearing or reading a discourse, that the passions of fear, love, hatred, admiration, disdain, and the like arise, immediately in his mind upon the perception of certain words, without any ideas coming between (p 99)

He even suggests that ‘good’ and ‘danger’ are examples of words that do not stand for ideas but rather serve to excite passions or exhort to action. This is mentioned in Warnock’s Ethics since 1900 (Warnock 1960, p 64) but what she does not point out is that Berkeley is much more radical than this. He goes on in Section 20 to argue that even proper names “do not seem always spoken, with a design to bring into our view the Ideas of those individuals that are supposed to be marked by them.” Sometimes they are used “to dispose me to embrace his opinion,” as when I say that Aristotle held some view simply as a way of getting you to accept it. So, it had been a long standing view in the empiricist tradition that language could be used in ways that went contrary to their meanings and for more subtle purposes than to describe the world.

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