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The word 'ought' is one of the core rmative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a vel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metarmative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of rmative sentences is a central part of the explanation of their meaning. But Chrisman argues that this leaves important metasemantic questions about what it is in virtue of which ought-sentences have the meanings that they have unanswered. His appeal to inferentialism aims to provide a viable anti-descriptivist but also anti-expressivist answer to these questions.
Matthew Chrisman is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He came to Edinburgh after earning his PhD and MA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his BA at Rice University. His research is focused on ethical theory, the philosophy of language, and epistemology. He has published widely in these areas, including articles in the Journal of Philosophy, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophers' Imprint and Philosophical Studies.