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  1. Confidence Reports.Fabrizio Cariani, Paolo Santorio & Alexis Wellwood - manuscript
    We advocate and develop a states-based semantics for both nominal and adjectival confidence reports, as in "Ann is confident/has confidence that it's raining", and their comparatives "Ann is more confident/has more confidence that it's raining than that it's snowing". Other examples of adjectives that can report confidence include "sure" and "certain". Our account adapts Wellwood's account of adjectival comparatives in which the adjectives denote properties of states, and measure functions are introduced compositionally. We further explore the prospects of applying these (...)
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  2. The Case for Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jacob M. Nebel & Jake Zuehl - manuscript
    We argue that all gradable expressions in natural language obey a principle that we call Comparability: if x and y are both F to some degree, then either x is at least as F as y or y is at least as F as x. This principle has been widely rejected among philosophers, especially by ethicists, and its falsity has been claimed to have important normative implications. We argue that Comparability is needed to explain the goodness of several patterns of (...)
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  3. Generics, Race, and Social Perspectives.Patrick O’Donnell - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-38.
    The project of this paper is to deliver a semantics for a broad subset of bare plural generics about racial kinds, a class which I will dub 'Type C generics.' Examples include 'Blacks are criminal' and 'Muslims are terrorists.' Type C generics have two interesting features. First, they link racial kinds with ​ socially perspectival predicates ​ (SPPs). SPPs lead interpreters to treat the relationship between kinds and predicates in generic constructions as nomic or non-accidental. Moreover, in computing their content, (...)
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  4. Evaluational Adjectives.Alex Silk - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1):1-35.
    This paper demarcates a theoretically interesting class of "evaluational adjectives." This class includes predicates expressing various kinds of normative and epistemic evaluation, such as predicates of personal taste, aesthetic adjectives, moral adjectives, and epistemic adjectives, among others. Evaluational adjectives are distinguished, empirically, in exhibiting phenomena such as discourse-oriented use, felicitous embedding under the attitude verb `find', and sorites-susceptibility in the comparative form. A unified degree-based semantics is developed: What distinguishes evaluational adjectives, semantically, is that they denote context-dependent measure functions ("evaluational (...)
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  5. Relativism, Metasemantics, and the Future.Derek Ball - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):1036-1086.
    ABSTRACT Contemporary relativists often see their view as contributing to a semantic/post-semantic account of linguistic data about disagreement and retraction. I offer an independently motivated metasemantic account of the same data, that also handles a number of cases and empirical results that are problematic for the relativist. The key idea is that the content of assertions and beliefs is determined in part by facts about other times, including times after the assertion is made or the belief is formed. On this (...)
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  6. Strictly Speaking.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger & Alexander Sandgren - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):3-11.
    A type of argument occasionally made in metaethics, epistemology and philosophy of science notes that most ordinary uses of some expression fail to satisfy the strictest interpretation of the expression, and concludes that the ordinary assertions are false. This requires there to be a presumption in favour of a strict interpretation of expressions that admit of interpretations at different levels of strictness. We argue that this presumption is unmotivated, and thus the arguments fail.
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  7. Supergrading: How Diverse Standards Can Improve Collective Performance in Ranking Tasks.Michael Morreau - 2020 - Theory and Decision 88 (4):541-565.
    The method of supergrading is introduced for deriving a ranking of items from scores or grades awarded by several people. Individual inputs may come in different languages of grades. Diversity in grading standards is an advantage, enabling rankings derived by this method to separate more items from one another. A framework is introduced for studying grading on the basis of observations. Measures of accuracy, reliability and discrimination are developed within this framework. Ability in grading is characterized for individuals and groups (...)
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  8. Cross-World Comparatives for Modal Realists.Robert Michels - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (3):368-391.
    Divers (2014) argues that a Lewisian theory of modality which includes both counterpart theory and modal realism cannot account for the truth of certain intuitively true modal sentences involving cross-world comparatives. The main purpose of this paper is to defend the Lewisian theory against Divers’s challenge by developing a response strategy based on a degree-theoretic treatment of comparatives and by showing that this treatment is compatible with the theory.
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  9. Normality: Part Descriptive, Part Prescriptive.Adam Bear & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 167:25-37.
    People’s beliefs about normality play an important role in many aspects of cognition and life (e.g., causal cognition, linguistic semantics, cooperative behavior). But how do people determine what sorts of things are normal in the first place? Past research has studied both people’s representations of statistical norms (e.g., the average) and their representations of prescriptive norms (e.g., the ideal). Four studies suggest that people’s notion of normality incorporates both of these types of norms. In particular, people’s representations of what is (...)
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  10. A New Argument From Interpersonal Variation to Subjectivism About Color: A Response to Gómez‐Torrente.Nat Hansen - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):421-428.
    I describe a new, comparative, version of the argument from interpersonal variation to subjectivism about color. The comparative version undermines a recent objectivist response to standard versions of that argument.
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  11. Color Adjectives, Standards, and Thresholds: An Experimental Investigation.Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (3):1--40.
    Are color adjectives ("red", "green", etc.) relative adjectives or absolute adjectives? Existing theories of the meaning of color adjectives attempt to answer that question using informal ("armchair") judgments. The informal judgments of theorists conflict: it has been proposed that color adjectives are absolute with standards anchored at the minimum degree on the scale, that they are absolute but have near-midpoint standards, and that they are relative. In this paper we report two experiments, one based on entailment patterns and one based (...)
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  12. Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity.Shen-yi Liao & Aaron Meskin - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):371–398.
    One aim of this essay is to contribute to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in expressing aesthetic evaluations. And despite the wealth of (...)
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  13. Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior.Shen-yi Liao, Louise McNally & Aaron Meskin - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):618-631.
    The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
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  14. The Semantic Significance of Faultless Disagreement.Michele Palmira - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):349-371.
    The article investigates the significance of the so-called phenomenon of apparent faultless disagreement for debates about the semantics of taste discourse. Two kinds of description of the phenomenon are proposed. The first ensures that faultless disagreement raises a distinctive philosophical challenge; yet, it is argued that Contextualist, Realist and Relativist semantic theories do not account for this description. The second, by contrast, makes the phenomenon irrelevant for the problem of what the right semantics of taste discourse should be. Lastly, the (...)
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  15. Thick Concepts and Underdetermination.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press. pp. 136-160.
    Thick terms and concepts in ethics somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. The non-evaluative aspects of thick terms and concepts underdetermine their extensions. Many writers argue that this underdetermination point is best explained by supposing that thick terms and concepts are semantically evaluative in some way such that evaluation plays a role in determining their extensions. This paper argues that the extensions of thick terms and concepts are underdetermined by their meanings in toto, irrespective of whether their extensions are partly (...)
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  16. Coordination and Comparatives.Friederike Moltmann - 1992 - Dissertation, MIT
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  17. Comparatives and Degrees.Adam Morton - 1984 - Analysis 44 (1):16 - 20.
    I describe a way of handling comparative adjectives "a is P-er than b", in terms of degrees "a has P to degree d". I defend this approach against attacks due to C J F Williams in an article in the same issue of *Analysis*, by tracing his objections to the assumption that degrees must be linearly ordered. Since this abstract is written years later, I can mention that some of the ideas were taken further in my Hypercomparatives. Synthese 111, 1997, (...)
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