The Case for Comparability

Cian Dorr
New York University
Jake Nebel
University of Southern California
Jake Zuehl
New York University
We argue that all gradable expressions in natural language obey a principle that we call Comparability: if x and y are both F to some degree, then either x is at least as F as y or y is at least as F as x. This principle has been widely rejected among philosophers, especially by ethicists, and its falsity has been claimed to have important normative implications. We argue that Comparability is needed to explain the goodness of several patterns of inference that seem manifestly valid. We reply to some influential arguments against Comparability, raise and reject some new arguments, and draw out some surprising implications of Comparability for debates concerning preference and credence.
Keywords comparative adjectives  incomparability  comparability  preference  unsharp credence
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
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Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - Routledge.

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