Expressing Disagreement: A Hybrid Account of Predicates of Personal Taste and Other Expressives

Student thesis: Phd


Predicates of personal taste (tasty, fun, etc.) are words that describe our tastes. They are said to give rise to faultless disagreements. These are disagreements where neither agent has committed a fault in uttering their sentences, but disagreement appears to persist. For example: Carling Matty: Carling is tasty. Billie: No, Carling is not tasty. In Carling, neither Mary nor Billie are at fault for both have conveyed a true proposition and yet there is a disagreement. The first two Chapters of this thesis are devoted to looking at semantic accounts that can explain cases of apparent faultless disagreement. I reject a variety of Contextualist and Relativist accounts on the basis that they fail to account for faultless disagreements. Chapter 3 is devoted to Expressivist semantics as a way of explaining disagreement. Therein we shall see that non-hybrid Expressivist semantics cannot account for expressive terms in predictive positions. At the end of this Chapter we will consider a hybrid account - Expressive- Contextualist - as a promising solution. We will see that Expressive-Contextualism fails primarily because of its Contextualist commitments, but the overall strategy of combining two semantics is favourable. In Chapter 4, I will propose a novel hybrid account which I call Expressive-Relativism. My main goal will be to explain faultless disagreement, as well as describe how expressive terms can have descriptive content. The account that is presented in this Chapter will address the shortcomings with the theories presented thus far. I will end this thesis with Chapter 5, wherein I consider how far Expressive-Relativism can go.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGraham Stevens (Supervisor) & Andrew Koontz-Garboden (Supervisor)


  • Faultless Disagreement
  • Expressivism
  • Expressive-Relativism
  • Predicates of Personal Taste
  • Contextualism
  • Relativism
  • Expressives

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