Berker, Selim. 2020. “Quasi-Dependence.” Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15: 195–218.

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Quasi-realists aim to account for many of the trappings of metanormative realism within an expressivist framework. Chief among these is the realist way of responding to the Euthyphro dilemma: quasi-realists want to join realists in being able to say, “It’s not the case that kicking dogs is wrong because we disapprove of it. Rather, we disapprove of kicking dogs because it’s wrong.” However, the standard quasi-realist way of explaining what we are up to when we assert the first of these two sentences rests on a mistaken identification of metaphysical dependence (or grounding) with counterfactual covariation. I propose a better way for expressivists to understand such sentences, on which they serve to express complex states of mind in which an attitude bears a relation of psychological dependence (or basing) to another state of mind. In slogan form: talk of normative grounding is the expression of attitudinal basing. I argue that this proposal is a natural, versatile, and fruitful approach for expressivists to take that helps them secure the first half of the Euthyphro contrast—but at the cost of making it difficult to see how expressivists can make sense of that contrast’s second half.

Last updated on 01/24/2021