Tracing thick and thin concepts through corpora

Language and Cognition (2024)
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Philosophers and linguists currently lack the means to reliably identify evaluative concepts and measure their evaluative intensity. Using a corpus-based approach, we present a new method to distinguish evaluatively thick and thin adjectives like ‘courageous’ and ‘awful’ from descriptive adjectives like ‘narrow,’ and from value-associated adjectives like ‘sunny.’ Our study suggests that the modifiers ‘truly’ and ‘really’ frequently highlight the evaluative dimension of thick and thin adjectives, allowing for them to be uniquely classified. Based on these results, we believe our operationalization may pave the way for a more quantitative approach to the study of thick and thin concepts.



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Author Profiles

Kevin Reuter
University of Zürich
Lucien Baumgartner
University of Zürich
Pascale Willemsen
University of Zürich

Citations of this work

True Beauty.Ryan P. Doran - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics.
Conspiracy theories are not theories: Time to rename conspiracy theories.Kevin Reuter & Lucien Baumgartner - forthcoming - In Manuel Gustavo Isaac, Steffen Koch & Kevin Scharp (eds.), New Perspectives on Conceptual Engineering. Springer.
Normativity and Concepts of Bodily Sensations.Kevin Reuter - forthcoming - Studia Philosophica: Jahrbuch Der Schweizerischen Philosoph Ischen Gesellschaft, Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Philosphie .

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References found in this work

The Language of Morals.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1952 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Freedom and reason.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1963 - Oxford,: Clarendon Press.
When Truth Gives Out.Mark Richard - 2008 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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