Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Adjective: gradable word which expresses a quality or characteristic. In philosophy, we speak of predicates. Not every predicate or adjective has a corresponding property. See also property, predicates, features.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 116
Adjective/Noun/Word Classes/Gärdenfors: Thesis: the main semantic difference between adjectives and nouns is that adjectives such as "red", "big" and "round" typically refer to a single area and thus represent properties, while nouns such as "dog", "apple" and "city" contain information on several areas and therefore...
I 117
...represent object categories. But this is only a rule of thumb. > Categories/Gärdenfors.
I 135
Adjectives/Word Classes/Functions/Gärdenfors: can
A) be regarded as a means of specifying objects
B) on a second level (for the coordination of similarities), the adjective has an informative function: e.g. The oven is hot.
Logical form: in this case, the adjective is a complement to the copula "is".
Problem: it is not clear that these two functions (specification and information) can be exercised by the same word class. (Dixon 2004, p. 30)(1).
There are adjectives that can only be used specifically (e.g., alive), and those that are used only informatively (predicatively), e.g. "absolute". (Paradis, 2005)(2)
Specification: can also be performed by nouns.
I 136
Gärdenfors: Thesis on Adjectives: the meaning of an adjective can be represented in a convex region of a single area.
E.g. colour words: no language has only one word for what is called "green" and "orange" in German.
Conceptual Space/Colour words/Gärdenfors: for my thesis that there is a single area for adjectives, evidence has been found:
I 137
See Taft and Sivik (1997)(3), Sivik & Taft (1994)(4), Jäger (2010)(5), Cook, Kay & Regier (2005)(6)
Problem: Adjectives like "healthy" are at the limit of many dimensions e.g. having no pain,...
I 138
...having no infection, etc. Therefore, the importance of "healthy" of the one-area thesis for adjectives does not seem to apply here.
Solution Gärdenfors: a) one can assume an area disease-health. This is how doctors proceed.
Vs: Problem: we cannot create a product room here.
B) A "health dimension" can be assumed as a diagonal in the product space, which covers all dimensions involved in disease and health. GärdenforsVs: I find this less attractive.

1. Dixon (2004) Dixon, R. M. W. (2004). Adjective Classes in typological perspective. In R. M. W. Dixon & A. Y. Aikhenvald (Eds.) Adjective classes: A cross-linguistic typology (pp. 1-49) Oxford.
2. Paradis, C. (2005) Ontologies and construals in lexical semantics. Axiomathes, 15, 541-573.
3. Taft, C., & Sivik, L. (1997). Salient color terms in four languages. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 38, 26–31.
4. Sivik, L., & Taft, C. (1994). Color naming: A mapping in the NCS of common color terms. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 35, 144–164.
5. Jäger, G. (2010). Natural color categories are convex sets. Amsterdam Colloquium 2009, LNAI 6042 (pp. 11–20). Berlin: Springer.
6. Cook, R. S. Kay, P., & Regier, T. (2005) The World Color Survey database: History and use. In H. Cohen & C. Lefebvre (Eds.) Handbook of categorization in cognitive science (pp. 223-242). Amsterdam.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-09-24
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