Negotiating Taste

Chris Barker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Using a vague predicate can make commitments about the appropriate use of that predicate in the remaining part of the discourse. For instance, if I assert that some particular pig is fat, I am committed to judging any fatter pig to be fat as well. We can model this update effect by recognizing that truth depends both on the state of the world and on the state of the discourse: the truth conditions of 'This pig is fat' rule out evaluation points <w, d> for which the pig in question in world w is thinner than the cutoff for fatness in the discourse d. Then disagreements about taste ('This chili is tasty'; 'No it's not!') are disagreements about the discourse. Unlike disagreements about the world, disagreements about the discourse can be faultless, given that none of the discourse participants has privileged authority to make pronouncements about conventions for appropriate use of a predicate. Thus on the dynamic view developed here, whether or not a dispute about taste turns out to be faultless depends in part on predictable features of the previous discourse. On this account, faultless disagreement involving predicates of personal taste does not force relativizing truth to a judge or assessor.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)240-257
    Number of pages18
    JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
    Issue number2-3
    StatePublished - 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy
    • Health Policy


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