Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Attitudinal ambivalence: moral uncertainty for non-cognitivists

Makins, Nicholas ORCID: 0000-0001-8935-6940 (2022) Attitudinal ambivalence: moral uncertainty for non-cognitivists. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 100 (3). 580 - 594. ISSN 0004-8402

[img] Text (Makins_attitudinal-ambivalence--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB)

Identification Number: 10.1080/00048402.2021.1908380


In many situations, people are unsure in their moral judgments. In much recent philosophical literature, this kind of moral doubt has been analysed in terms of uncertainty in one’s moral beliefs. Non-cognitivists, however, argue that moral judgments express a kind of conative attitude, more akin to a desire than a belief. This paper presents a scientifically informed reconciliation of non-cognitivism and moral doubt. The central claim is that attitudinal ambivalence—the degree to which one holds conflicting attitudes towards the same object—can play the role of moral doubt for non-cognitivists. I will demonstrate that ambivalence has all of the features that we would expect it to have in order to play the role of moral doubt. It is gradable, can vary through time, covaries with strength of motivation, and is suitably distinct from the other features of our moral judgments. As well as providing a defence of non-cognitivism, this insight poses a new challenge for the view—deciding how to act under moral ambivalence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 13:15
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 18:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics