Ecommerce will be unavailable on Cambridge Core for approximately one hour from 18:00 (UK time) on Thursday 29th September - we apologise for any inconvenience.
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 January 2012
This essay is about an old problem that lies at the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of language. It comes up in many contexts. The context that will concern us is ethical naturalism. This is partly because this volume is concerned with ethical naturalism and partly because the author of this essay is a naturalist in ethics. There is a currently popular solution to the problem, one that draws on certain causal–externalist views about reference. I will explain why I reject it and offer an alternative solution, one that draws on the network account of moral terms.
We start with some preliminary comments on ethical naturalism and on the representational view of language. They will help us identify our problem. Although it is an old one, there is no standard way of saying exactly what it is. It is, though, as we will see, connected to the paradox of analysis.