The Semantics of "Good" and "Right" as Gradable Adjectives


Abstract I argue that good and right are gradable adjectives as that is understood in the current linguistic theory of gradable adjectives. According that theory, gradable adjectives do not denote properties but contribute meaning in a different yet cognitive way; and if that applies to good and right, then those words contribute meaning and provide evaluativity and normativity by means other than denoting properties. If that is true, significant consequences follow for metaethics, both because of the lack of properties good and right, and because of specific features of the gradable adjective semantics. I outline the theory of good and right as gradable adjectives and explore some of those consequences, attempting to give a sense of what changes we may expect in metaethics.

Author's Profile

Michael Beebe
University of British Columbia


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