Parity and Comparability—a Concern Regarding Chang’s Chaining Argument

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


According to Ruth Chang the three standard positive value relations: “better than”, “worse than” and “equally good” do not fully exhaust the conceptual space for positive value relations. According to her, there is room for a fourth positive value relation, which she calls “parity”. Her argument for parity comes in three parts. First, she argues that there are items that are not related by the standard three value relations. Second, that these items are not incomparable, and third, that the phenomena she has focused on are not due to the vagueness of the comparative predicates (i.e., that it is indeterminate which of the standard value relations that holds). This paper focuses on the second part of the argument and an objection is presented. By assuming the Small Unidimensional Difference Principle, which is a key premise for the second part of the argument, Chang’s argument could be accused of begging the question. More so, by assuming this principle, the space for incomparability gets severely limited. If these worries are justified, then Chang’s argument for parity as a fourth form of comparability is unsuccessful.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Begging the question, Chang, Comparability, Comparisons, Parity, Trichotomy, Vagueness, Value relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch