thick terms

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Term coined by Williams for those expressions in ethics that carry a descriptive as well as an evaluative component. Common examples include derogatory racial and sexist epithets, but terms denoting the virtues are also often argued to carry both kinds of meaning. The notion is often associated with the view that such terms are learned as a unity, so that the two components cannot be factored out separately, and this puts pressure on the fact/value distinction.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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