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Shapelessness and the thick

Ethics 121 (3):489-520 (2011)

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  1. The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  • Humanity, Virtue, Justice: A Framework for a Capability Approach.Benjamin James Bessey - unknown
    This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, (...)
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  • Depending on the Thick.Debbie Roberts - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):197-220.
    The claim that the normative depends on the non-normative is just as entrenched in metanormative theory as the claim that the normative supervenes on the non-normative. It is widely held to be a genuine truism, a conceptual truth that operates as a constraint on competence with normative concepts. Call it the dependence constraint. I argue that this status is unwarranted. While it is true that the normative is dependent, it is not a genuine truism, or a conceptual truth, that it (...)
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  • The Expansion View of Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):914-944.
    This paper proposes a new Separabilist account of thick concepts, called the Expansion View (or EV). According to EV, thick concepts are expanded contents of thin terms. An expanded content is, roughly, the semantic content of a predicate along with modifiers. Although EV is a form of Separabilism, it is distinct from the only kind of Separabilism discussed in the literature, and it has many features that Inseparabilists want from an account of thick concepts. EV can also give non-cognitivists a (...)
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  • Shapelessness in Context.Pekka Väyrynen - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
    Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...)
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  • Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-20.
    Cornell realists maintain that irreducible moral properties have earned a place in our ontology in virtue of the indispensable role they play in a variety of explanations. These explanations can be divided into two groups: those that employ thin ethical concepts and those that employ thick ethical concepts. Recent work on thick concepts suggests that they are not inherently evaluative in their meaning. If correct, this creates problems for the moral explanations of Cornell realists, since the most persuasive moral explanations (...)
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  • Thick Evaluation.T. Kirchin Simon - 2014 - Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. We use evaluative terms and concepts every day. We call actions right and wrong, teachers wise and ignorant, and pictures elegant and grotesque. Philosophers place evaluative concepts into two camps. Thin concepts, such as goodness and badness, and rightness and wrongness (...)
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  • Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Thick Concepts and Underdetermination.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press. pp. 136-160.
    Thick terms and concepts in ethics somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. The non-evaluative aspects of thick terms and concepts underdetermine their extensions. Many writers argue that this underdetermination point is best explained by supposing that thick terms and concepts are semantically evaluative in some way such that evaluation plays a role in determining their extensions. This paper argues that the extensions of thick terms and concepts are underdetermined by their meanings in toto, irrespective of whether their extensions are partly (...)
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  • Expressivism and the Normativity of Attitudes.Teemu Toppinen - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):233-255.
    Many philosophers believe that judgments about propositional attitudes, or about which mental states are expressed by which sentences, are normative judgments. If this is so, then metanormative expressivism must be given expressivist treatment. This might seem to make expressivism self-defeating or worrisomely circular, or to frustrate the explanatory ambitions central to the view. I argue that recent objections along these lines to giving an expressivist account of expressivism are not successful. I shall also suggest that in order to deal with (...)
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  • Thick Concepts.Debbie Roberts - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):677-688.
    In ethics, aesthetics and increasingly in epistemology, a distinction is drawn between thick and thin evaluative concepts. A common characterisation of the distinction is that thin concepts have only evaluative content, whereas thick concepts combine evaluative and descriptive content. Because of this combination, it is again commonly thought that thick concepts have various distinctive powers including the power to undermine the distinction between fact and value. This paper discusses the accuracy of this view of the thick concepts debate, as well (...)
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  • Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A term expresses a thick concept if it expresses a specific evaluative concept that is also substantially descriptive. It is a matter of debate how this rough account should be unpacked, but examples can help to convey the basic idea. Thick concepts are often illustrated with virtue concepts like courageous and generous, action concepts like murder and betray, epistemic concepts like dogmatic and wise, and aesthetic concepts like gaudy and brilliant. These concepts seem to be evaluative, unlike purely descriptive concepts (...)
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  • Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    [First published 09/2016; substantive revision 02/2021.] Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: (...)
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  • Irreducibly Thick Evaluation is Not Thinly Evaluative.N. D. Cannon - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):651-666.
    In this paper, I criticize the pairing of irreducible thickness with the traditional view of evaluation which says evaluation is a matter of encoding good or bad in some way. To do this, I first explicate the determination view, which holds that irreducibly thick concepts are to thin concepts as determinates are to determinables. I then show that, even if the determination view did establish irreducible thickness, it would not have proven that the evaluative is well understood as being an (...)
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  • Separating the Evaluative From the Descriptive: An Empirical Study of Thick Concepts.Pascale Willemsen & Kevin Reuter - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):135-146.
    Thick terms and concepts, such as honesty and cruelty, are at the heart of a variety of debates in philosophy of language and metaethics. Central to these debates is the question of how the descriptive and evaluative components of thick concepts are related and whether they can be separated from each other. So far, no empirical data on how thick terms are used in ordinary language has been collected to inform these debates. In this paper, we present the first empirical (...)
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  • Explanatory Indispensability Arguments in Metaethics and Philosophy of Mathematics.Debbie Roberts - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
  • The Linguistically Informed Virtue-Novice as Precocious: A Reply to Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue. [REVIEW]Mara Neijzen - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):587-597.
    Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue provides an original and contemporary discussion of virtue-acquisition from an interdisciplinary standpoint. By equating virtues to skills, he offers an empirically informed progression towards virtue expertise. With the focus on gaining proficiency, there is little room to analyse the status of the virtue-novice, who is equated to a novice in any other skill: an agent consciously following simple rules, gaining experience in order to respond to normatively-laden situations with more automaticity in the following stages of (...)
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  • Grounding Thick Normative Facts.Justin Morton - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):408-431.
    Many philosophers have been concerned with the nature of thick normative concepts. In this paper, I try to motivate a different project: understanding the nature of thick normative properties and facts. I propose a ground-theoretic approach to this project. I then argue that some of the simplest and most initially plausible ways of understanding thick facts fail, and that we are forced to accept some initially implausible views. I try to show how these views are not so implausible after all.
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  • Thickness and Evaluation.Matti Eklund - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (1):89-104.
    This is a review essay devoted to Pekka Väyrynen’s The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty. Väyrynen’s book, concerned with thick terms and thick concepts, argues for a pragmatic view on the evaluativeness associated with these terms and concepts. The essay raises a number of critical questions regarding what Väyrynen’s arguments for his view actually show. It deals with, for example, thick properties, the fact-value distinction, what it is for terms and concepts to be (semantically) evaluative, and whether Väyrynen’s arguments (...)
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  • Bad by Nature, An Axiological Theory of Pain.Olivier Massin - 2017 - In Jennifer Corns (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Pain. Routledge. pp. 321-333.
    This chapter defends an axiological theory of pain according to which pains are bodily episodes that are bad in some way. Section 1 introduces two standard assumptions about pain that the axiological theory constitutively rejects: (i) that pains are essentially tied to consciousness and (ii) that pains are not essentially tied to badness. Section 2 presents the axiological theory by contrast to these and provides a preliminary defense of it. Section 3 introduces the paradox of pain and argues that since (...)
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  • Perfection and Fiction : A Study in Iris Murdoch's Moral Philosophy.Frits Gåvertsson - 2018 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis comprises a study of the ethical thought of Iris Murdoch with special emphasis, as evidenced by the title, on how morality is intimately connected to self-improvement aiming at perfection and how the study of fiction has an important role to play in our strive towards bettering ourselves within the framework set by Murdoch’s moral philosophy.
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  • Rational Argument in Moral Philosophy: Some Implications of Gordon Baker's Therapeutic Conception of Philosophy.Christopher Lawton - unknown
    This work is an investigation into philosophical method and rational argument in moral philosophy. It makes an original contribution to human understanding, by taking some of the tools and techniques that Gordon Baker identifies in the later work of Wittgenstein, and using them as a way of fending for oneself in an area of philosophy that neither Baker, nor Wittgenstein, wrote on. More specifically, a discussion of some different aspects of the contemporary literature on Dancy’s moral particularism is used as (...)
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