David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Comparative constructions allow individuals to be compared according to different properties. Such comparisons form two classes, those that permit direct, comparisons (comparisons of measurements as in Seymour is taller than he is wide) and those that only allow indirect comparisons (comparisons of relative positions on separate scales as in Esme is more beautiful than Einstein is intelligent). Traditionally, these two types of comparisons have been associated with an ambiguity in the interpretations of the comparative and equative morphemes (see, Bartsch & Vennemann, 1972; Kennedy, 1999). In this thesis, I propose that there is no such ambiguity. The interpretations of the comparative and equative morphemes remain the same whether they appear in sentences that compare individuals directly or relative to two separate scales. To develop a unified account, I suggest that all comparisons involve a scale of universal degrees that are isomorphic to the rational (fractional) numbers between 0 and 1. All comparative and equative constructions are assigned an interpretation based on a comparison of such degrees. These degrees are associated with the two individuals being compared. Crucial to a unified treatment, the connection between individuals and universal degrees involves two steps. First individuals are mapped to a value on a primary scale that respects the ordering of such individuals according to the quality under consideration (whether it be height, beauty or intelligence). Second, this value on the primary scale is mapped to a universal degree that encodes the value's relative position with respect to other values. It is the ability of iv the universal degrees to encode positions on a primary scale that enables comparative and equative morphemes to either compare individuals directly or indirectly. A direct comparison results if measurements such as seven feet participate in the gradable property (as in Seven feet is tall). Such participation can sometimes result in an isomorphism between two primary scales and the ordering of measurements in a measurement system. When this occurs, comparing positions in the primary scales is equivalent to comparing measurements. If this type of isomorphism cannot be established then the sentence yields an indirect comparison
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Alan Clinton Bale (2011). Scales and Comparison Classes. Natural Language Semantics 19 (2):169-190.
Marcin Morzycki (2009). Degree Modification of Gradable Nouns: Size Adjectives and Adnominal Degree Morphemes. [REVIEW] Natural Language Semantics 17 (2):175-203.
Similar books and articles
Alan Clinton Bale (2008). A Universal Scale of Comparison. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (1):1-55.
Danny Fox & Martin Hackl (2006). The Universal Density of Measurement. Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (5):537 - 586.
Christopher Kennedy (2001). Polar Opposition and the Ontology of 'Degrees'. Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (1):33-70.
Jon Elster & John E. Roemer (eds.) (1991). Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being. Cambridge University Press.
Andrew Turner (2012). 'Placebos' and the Logic of Placebo Comparison. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):419-432.
José Miguel Gambra Gutiérrez (2012). The Topoi From the Greater, the Lesser and the Same Degree: An Essay on the Σύγκρισις in Aristotle's Topics. [REVIEW] Argumentation 26 (4):413-437.
Theodore J. Everett (2000). A Simple Logic for Comparisons and Vagueness. Synthese 123 (2):263-278.
A. Zepter (2003). How to Be Universal When You Are Existential: Negative Polarity Items in the Comparative: Entailment Along a Scale. Journal of Semantics 20 (2):193-237.
Martijn Boot (2012). The Aim of a Theory of Justice. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):7-21.
H. J. Pratt (2012). Categories and Comparisons of Artworks. British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (1):45-59.
Xize Deng (2010). Problem and Method: The Possibility of Comparative Study—Using “Lun Liujia Yaozhi” as an Example. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (4):575-600.
Kai Wehmeier (2012). Subjunctivity and Cross-World Predication. Philosophical Studies 159 (1):107-122.
Added to index2011-05-12
Total downloads10 ( #208,340 of 1,696,633 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #80,942 of 1,696,633 )
How can I increase my downloads?