The Sense and Reference of Evaluative Terms

In Petr Kotatko & John Biro (eds.), Frege: Sense and Reference one Hundred Years later. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 113--127 (1995)
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What account of evaluative expressions, such as ‘is beautiful’, ‘is generous’ or ‘is good’, should a Fregean adopt? Given Frege’s claim that predicates can have both a sense and a reference in addition to their extension, an interesting range of only partially explored theoretical possibilities opens to Frege and his followers. My intention here is to briefly present these putative possibilities and explore one of them, namely David Wiggins’ claim that evaluative predicates refer to non-natural concepts and have a sense which is sentiment-involving. In order to defend this claim against objections which aim at showing that evaluative concepts do not really exist, I shall suggest that our awareness of evaluative concepts involves affective (or emotive) states.

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Christine Tappolet
Université de Montréal


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