Fallibility without Facts



If, as expressivists maintain, the function of normative thought and talk is not to represent or describe the world, then how can normative judgements be correct or incorrect? In particular, how can I make sense of my own normative fallibility, the possibility that my own normative judgements might be mistaken? In this paper, I construct and defend a substantive but non-representational theory of normative (in)correctness for expressivists. Inspired by Blackburn’s (1998: 318) proposal that I make sense of my fallibility in terms of the possibility that my judgements might be unstable through improvement, my account is designed in the first instance to vindicate the expressivist’s conception of the nature of normative inquiry. I then defend the proposal from the charge that it leaves insufficient room for my own fallibility, and in particular from Egan’s (2007) argument that it implies a “smug” asymmetry between myself and others. Critical to the response is the appeal to indeterminacy in cases of fundamental normative disagreement between reasonable normative outlooks.


How to Cite: Gamester, W. (2022) “Fallibility without Facts”, Ergo. 8(0). doi: