Hybrid Evaluatives: In Defense of a Presuppositional Account

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien
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  • 1 Scuola Normale Superiore & Institut Jean Nicod
  • 2 Institut Jean Nicod

In this paper, the authors present a presuppositional account for a class of evaluative terms that encode both a descriptive and an evaluative component: slurs and thick terms. The authors discuss several issues related to the hybrid nature of these terms, such as their projective behavior, the ways in which one may reject their evaluative content, and the ways in which evaluative content is entailed or implicated (as the case may be) by the use of such terms.

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  • 1

    McCready (2010) and Gutzman (2011) talk about “mixed content”-expressions and “mixed expressive” to refer to terms that contribute descriptive content to the at-issue dimension and expressive content to the conventional-implicature dimension. According to them, expressive content is always speaker-directed, i.e. it is about the speaker’s attitude.

  • 6

     See also Camp 2013 and Jeshion 2013a, 2013b for slurs, and Väyrynen 2009 for thick terms.

  • 13

    Geach (1956) and, in a more extensive and systematic way, Thompson (1992, 2003), are particularly keen on arguing that there isn’t a single, monadic property of goodness in the moral realm. While we are sympathetic to their view, there is a way of interpreting the proposed semantics of ‘good’ that remains compatible with moral monism. In this respect, our position remains neutral with respect to the metaethical debate in which Geach, Thompson and their opponents have been engaged.

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