Tasting and testing
- 70 Downloads
Our main concern in this paper is the semantics of predicates of personal taste. However, in order to see these predicates in the right perspective, we had to broaden the scope to the wider class of relative gradable adjectives. We present an analysis of the meaning of these adjectives in the framework of update semantics. In this framework the meaning of a sentence is not identified with its truth conditions, but with its (potential) impact on people’s intentional states. In this respect, an important characteristic of relative gradable adjectives is the interplay between their evaluative features and people’s expectations. The dynamic set-up also makes it possible (a) to model the interpretation of a relative gradable adjective without supposing that the context always supplies a ‘cut-off’ point determining its application, and (b) to deal in a pragmatic way with situations in which the Sorites paradox arises.
KeywordsRelative gradable adjectives Predicates of personal taste Update semantics Evaluativity
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to the VAAG-Project “Vagueness, approximation and granularity” (231-80-004). This project was a component of the EUROCORES Programme “Modelling Intelligent Interaction—Logic in the Humanities, Social and Computational Sciences” coordinated by the European Science Foundation. The ideas underlying this paper have been presented at various venues: University of Tilburg, University of Utrecht, Peking University, the TARK summerschool at the University of Maryland, University of Barcelona, Rutgers University, Université Paris-Diderot. We are grateful to the audiences for the feedback they provided. We also want to thank Robert van Rooij and Martin Stokhof, whose questions and comments were constitutive for the development of our thoughts. Finally, the feedback of the two anonymous reviewers made us change our mind on a number of issues and forced us to be a lot clearer than we originally were.
- Bartsch, R., & Venneman, T. (1972). Semantic structures: Semantic structures: A study in the relation between syntax and semantics. Frankfurt: Athenäum Verlag.Google Scholar
- Burnett, H. S. (2012). The grammar of tolerance on vagueness, context-sensitivity, and the origin of scale structure. Ph.D. thesis, UC Los Angeles.Google Scholar
- Crespo, I., Karawani, H., & Veltman, F. (2018). Expressing expectations. In D. Ball & B. Rabern (Eds.), The science of meaning (pp. 253–276). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Crespo, M. I. (2015). Affecting meaning: Subjectivity and evaluativity in gradable adjectives. Ph.D. thesis, ILLC, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Dummett, M. (1975). Wang’s paradox. Synthese, 30(3–4), 201–32.Google Scholar
- Fara, D. G. (2000). Shifting sands: An interest relative theory of vagueness. Philosophical Topics, 28(1), 45–81. Originally published under the name “Delia Graff”.Google Scholar
- Groenendijk, J., & Stokhof, M. (1984). Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers. Ph.D. thesis, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Guyer, P. (1979). Kant and the claims of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Kamp, H., & Sassoon, G. W. (2017). Vagueness. In P. D. M. Aloni (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of formal semantics (pp. 389–441). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kant, I. (1790). Critique of the power of judgment. P. Guyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, trans. by P. Guyer and E. Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2000).Google Scholar
- Morzycki, M. (2015). Modification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Sassoon G.W. (2010). Restricted quantification over tastes. In M. Aloni, H. Bastiaanse, T. de Jager, & K. Schulz (Eds.), Logic, language and meaning. 17th Amsterdam Colloquium. Revised selected papers (pp. 163–172). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Siegel, M. (1976). Capturing the Adjective. Ph.D. thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.Google Scholar
- Smith, B. C. (2007). The objectivity of taste and tasting. In B. C. Smith (Ed.), Questions of taste: The philosophy of wine (pp. 41–76). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Stephenson, T. (2006). Towards a theory of subjective meaning. Ph.D. thesis, MIT.Google Scholar
- Umbach, C. (2016). Evaluative propositions and subjective judgments. In C. Meier & J. van Wijnbergen-Huitink (Eds.), Subjective meaning: Alternatives to relativism (pp. 127–168). Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (1958). Philosophical investigations (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
OpenAccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.