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An Internalist Dilemma—and an Externalist Solution

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In this paper, I argue that internalism about moral judgments and motivation faces a dilemma. On the one hand, a strong version of internalism is able to explain our notion of the connection between moral language and motivation, but fails to account for the possibility that people who suffer from certain mental conditions need not be accordingly motivated. On the other hand, a weaker form of internalism avoids this difficulty, but fails to explain our notion of the connection between moral judgments and motivation. Moreover, I argue that externalism in conjunction with a pragmatic claim that employs Grice’s concept of generalized conversational implicature is able to account for both these considerations and that it consequently avoids the dilemma. Thus, there is reason to think that this view is preferable to internalism.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Olof Wijksgatan 6, 412 55 Gothenburg, Sweden,


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