chapter  2
12 Pages

The ‘moderate’ version: premiss 1

Just as in earlier chapters, we shall postpone dealing with this question in the hope that the ‘moderate’ version will be found on its own to justify the argument’s reputation as, in Dancy’s words (1993: 3) ‘driv[ing] us in this [non-cognitivist] direction’. For with the ‘moderate’ version there is no difficulty in identifying whom amongst recent writers it is aimed at. Often the very (naturalistic) cognitivists who are its targets come forward and identify themselves. Thus, McNaughton, Dancy, Smith and Brink, having taken care to expound the argument in what they take to be a valid form, go on, as cognitivists, to try and resist its noncognitivist conclusion by attacking one or other of its premisses. If, of course, we find their defence convincing we shall have to conclude that the argument does not in the ‘moderate’ version live up to its reputation. Then, but only then, will it be necessary to seek the source of its much vaunted power elsewhere, namely in the the ‘extreme’ version, and so finally confront the mystery surrounding Williams’ hypothetical opponents.