Description and Evaluation

R. M. Hare

in The Language of Morals

Published in print March 1963 | ISBN: 9780198810773
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597619 | DOI:
 Description and Evaluation

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This chapter distinguishes two sorts of things we can say about objects, something (1) descriptive (‘red’), and (2i) evaluative (‘good’). Both, Hare notes, have descriptive function in that they can be used to convey factual information (compare ‘red car’ and ‘good car’). Value‐words, however, also have prescriptive meaning, and this meaning is primary to their descriptive meaning, because in contrast to its descriptive meaning, it remains constant in all uses and can also be employed to change the descriptive meaning of a class of objects. Finally, Hare notes that value‐words can be used with no commendatory meaning at all: the inverted commas use (e.g. irony) and the conventional use (e.g. paying lip service to what everyone else says).

Keywords: conventional use; description; descriptive meaning; evaluation; evaluative meaning; good; inverted commas use

Chapter.  5683 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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