Taste Disagreements and Predicates of Personal Taste

Abstract

In my dissertation, I explore the role of taste disagreements in the debate about the semantics of predicates of personal taste. Linguistic data derived from examples of gustatory disagreement often plays a major role in deciding the correct semantics of taste. I claim that, contrary to the trend in the recent literature, taste disagreements should not play any part in this debate. I argue that the data can be accommodated independently of the semantics by a theory of the purpose of “subjective” disagreements, such as taste disagreements. In support of this claim, I develop such a theory—one that includes an appeal to distinctively gustatory norms. I demonstrate how this theory can be applied equally well to the two major competing semantic theories—relativism and contextualism—to explain taste disagreements. If I am correct, this discovery represents a substantial contribution to the dialectic because it offers philosophers and linguists decisive motivation to discontinue their reliance on disagreement data in the debate about the semantics of taste.

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