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Binding, Genericity, and Predicates of Personal Taste
Published in
Volume: 56
Issue: 2-3
Pages: 278 - 306
I argue for two major claims in this paper. First, I argue that the linguistic evidence best supports a certain form of contextualism about predicates of personal taste (PPTs) like 'fun' and 'tasty'. In particular, I argue that these adjectives are both individual-level predicates (ILPs) and anaphoric implicit argument taking predicates (IATPs). As ILPs, these naturally form generics. As anaphoric IATPs, PPTs show the same dependencies on context and distributional behavior as more familiar anaphoric IATPs, for example, 'local' and 'apply'. Moreover, they are subject to important binding-related phenomena, for example, various kinds of anaphora, binding arguments, and strict-sloppy ambiguities. The latter are particularly problematic for relativism, contextualism's major competitor. I argue that relativism cannot account for these binding facts in a non-ad hoc manner. Second, I argue that disagreement is a predictable feature of dialogues involving PPTs in conjunction with the contextualist semantics defended. Appealing to 'off the shelf' analyses of genericity, I show how disagreement arises in just the cases we would expect, licensing just the kinds of responses we would expect. They also suggest promising explanations, unavailable to relativists, of various otherwise puzzling features of disagreements involving PPTs. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)