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Emotive meaning

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-U010-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Emotive meaning contrasts with descriptive meaning. Terms have descriptive meaning if they do the job of stating facts: they have emotive meaning if they do the job of expressing the speaker’s emotions or attitudes, or exciting emotions or attitudes in others. Emotivism, the theory that moral terms have only or primarily emotive meaning, is an important position in twentieth-century ethics. The most important problem for the idea of emotive meaning is that emotive meaning may not really be a kind of meaning: the jobs of moral terms supposed to constitute emotive meaning may really be performed by speakers using moral terms, on only some of the occasions on which they use them.

Citing this article:
Phillips, David. Emotive meaning, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-U010-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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