Elaboration and intuitions of disagreement

Philosophical Studies 174 (4):861-875 (2017)
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Mark Richard argues for truth-relativism about claims made using gradable adjectives. He argues that truth-relativism is the best explanation of two kinds of linguistic data, which I call: true cross-contextual reports and infelicitous denials of conflict. Richard claims that such data are generated by an example that he discusses at length. However, the consensus is that these linguistic data are illusory because they vanish when elaborations are added to examples of the same kind as Richard’s original. In this paper I defend the reality of Richard’s data. I show that, in trying to make their point, Richard’s critics have focused upon examples that are similar in some respects to Richard’s original but which lack a crucial feature of that original. When we ensure that this feature is in place, elaborations which make the data vanish are not possible. Richard’s critics therefore fail to show that the data generated by Richard’s original example are illusory.

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Alex Davies
University of Tartu


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