Non-Realist Cognitivism, Truth, and Objectivity

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In On What Matters, Derek Parfit defends a new metaethical theory, which he calls Non-Realist Cognitivism. It claims that (i) normative judgments are beliefs, that (ii) some normative beliefs are true, that (iii) the normative concepts that are a part of the propositions that are the contents of normative beliefs are irreducible, unanalysable, and of their own unique kind, and that (iv) neither the natural features of the reality nor any additional normative features of the reality make the relevant normative beliefs true. The aim of this article is to argue that Parfit's theory is problematic because its defenders have no resources to make sense of the nature of normative truth, which is an essential element of their view. I do this by showing how the traditional theories of truth are not available for the Non-Realist Cognitivists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193–212
Number of pages20
JournalActa Analytica
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Metaethics
  • Normativity
  • Derek Parfit
  • Non-realist cognitivism
  • Truth


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