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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Philosophy

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Phillip Bricker

Second Advisor

Hilary Kornblith

Third Advisor

Eileen O'Neill

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Philosophy of Language

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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