Cognitivism in ethics maintains that ethical assertions, such as statements or expressions of some conviction regarding actions, states of affairs, or character traits, function the same way as other beliefs do in that they are capable of being true or false. Cognitivism therefore holds that such assertions have propositional content and their correctness or incorrectness is determined by whether they are true or false, respectively. So, for instance, ethical assertions like “it would be unjust to terminate that employee” or “it is disrespectful for him to deceive her like that” are conveying states of mind regarding just and respectful behavior that can be determined to be true or false. In this regard, cognitivism is a metaethical thesis regarding the semantic status of ethical claims that ...

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