Comparative concepts

Synthese 190 (1):139-170 (2013)
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Comparative concepts such as greener than or higher than are ways of ordering objects. They are fundamental to our grasp of gradable concepts, that is, the type of meanings expressed by gradable general terms, such as "is green" or "is high", which are embeddable in comparative constructions in natural language. Some comparative concepts seem natural, whereas others seem gerrymandered. The aim of this paper is to outline a theoretical approach to comparative concepts that bears both on the account of naturalness for comparative concepts and on the theory of gradable concepts. The approach is novel in that it carries some basic assumptions from Peter Gärdenfors' conceptual spaces account of categorical concepts over to comparative concepts. The offered approach is more general than Gärdenfors' account in that it supplies a framework of graded categorisation that includes his categorisation rule as a limiting case. Importantly, it provides also a new argument for adopting Gärdenfors' particular model of categorisation



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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Doing without concepts.Edouard Machery - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution.Brent Berlin & Paul Kay - 1991 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Features of similarity.Amos Tversky - 1977 - Psychological Review 84 (4):327-352.

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