ArgLab • Colloquium

Erich H. Rast

Multidimensional ‘better than’

In this talk, I lay out a multidimensional theory of the structure of ‘better than’ comparisons and uses of similar gradable evaluative adjectives and show how such an approach can adequately explain Spectrum Cases by Stuart Rachels and Larry Temkin without giving up the transitivity of overall ‘better than’ comparisons between comparable items. The theory also allows for a definition of parity that has (most of) the properties laid out by Ruth Chang while at the meantime doing justice to the idea that parity is a relation between evaluatively different aspects. Multiple aspects of value comparisons are aggregated as ordinal utilities based on a variant of the Borda Count method. Ways of modifying the approach to allow for cardinal utilities and some remaining hard problems are also briefly addressed.


Erich H. Rast, FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal