Vagueness and Goodness Simpliciter

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Abstract

Recently a lot has been written on the topic of value incomparability. While there is disagreement on how we are to understand incomparability, most seem to accept Ruth Chang's claim that all comparisons must proceed in some specific respect. Call this the Requirement for Specification. Interestingly, even though most seem to accept this requirement, next to nothing has been written on it. In this paper I focus on the requirement and discuss two different but related topics. First, an important observation is made: as it turns out, the requirement plays an important explanatory role for the thesis that incomparability is to be understood in terms of vagueness. Second, I consider what is entailed by the Requirement for Specification. There is a general worry that the requirement entails that there is no such thing as goodness simpliciter. The line of thought is that if we always must specify in which way something is e.g., better than something else, then perhaps things cannot be better simpliciter. And if there is no such thing as betterness-simpliciter, then can there be such a thing as goodness simpliciter? Finally, I consider how an answer to this question affects the view that incomparability is vagueness.

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  • Philosophy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-394
Number of pages17
JournalRatio
Volume29
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes