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Confusion of TonguesA Theory of Normative Language$
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Stephen Finlay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.001.0001

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A Good Word to Start With

A Good Word to Start With

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 A Good Word to Start With
Source:
Confusion of Tongues
Author(s):

Stephen Finlay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.003.0002

A unifying semantics for the word ‘good’ is offered for its nonmoral uses. A common underlying logical syntax is identified: ‘good’ expresses a relation between two propositions with a background index of information. Goodness (for e) is analyzed as the relation of increasing the probability of an end e, where the relevant end varies by context. Neo-Aristotelian moral functionalism is rejected on linguistic grounds. Other issues discussed include the agent-relativity of value, gradable adjectives, the value of objects, a distinction between objective and subjective value, signatory and instrumental value, and the relationship between value and interests.

Keywords:   good, value, semantics, syntax, probability, context, moral functionalism, gradable adjectives

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