Individual and stage-level predicates of personal taste: another argument for genericity as the source of faultless disagreement

In J. Wyatt (ed.), Perspectives on Taste: Aesthetics, Language, Metaphysics and Experimental Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This chapter compares simple predicates of personal taste (PPTs) such as tasty and beautiful with their complex counterparts (eg tastes good, looks beautiful). I argue that the former differ from the latter along two dimensions. Firstly, simple PPTs are individual-level predicates, whereas complex ones are stage-level. Secondly, covert Experiencer arguments of simple PPTs obligatorily receive a generic interpretation; by contrast, the covert Experiencer of a complex PPT can receive a generic, bound variable or referential interpretation. I provide an analysis of these facts based on a novel proposal about the licensing of individual-level predicates (the ‘Licensing Condition on ILPs’). This condition states that all covert pronominal arguments of an individual-level predicate must be bound by the generic operator. Finally, I show that generic construal of the Experiencer is a necessary condition for faultless disagreement. This is evidence in favour of treatments of subjective meaning that appeal to genericity, and against relativism about PPTs.

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