Is Epistemic Expressivism Dialectically Incoherent?



Epistemic expressivism is the view that epistemic appraisals are basically non-factual valuations. In this paper I consider recent objections pressed by Terrence Cuneo, Michael Lynch and Jonathan Kvanvig to the effect that whatever the problems of expressivism in general, epistemic expressivism faces certain fatal objections due to the fact that the view is applied to the epistemic domain. The most important of these objections state, roughly, that because of the very content of the doctrine, epistemic expressivism cannot be coherently asserted or argued for. Thus, epistemic expressivism is, as I shall say, dialectically incoherent. Another way to put the objection is this: there is no cogent perspective in which epistemic expressivism can be asserted or argued for. Since these arguments all trade on the idea of a perspective in which epistemic expressivism is to be asserted, I shall, following Terence Cuneo's terminology, refer to the arguments as the perspective objections (Cuneo 2007, 170). I argue that the perspective objections fail. Whatever serious objections there might be to epistemic expressivism, the charge that the view is dialectically incoherent is not one of them.