Context, content, and relativism

Michael Glanzberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


This paper argues against relativism, focusing on relativism based on the semantics of predicates of personal taste. It presents and defends a contextualist semantics for these predicates, derived from current work on gradable adjectives. It then considers metasemantic questions about the kinds of contextual parameters this semantics requires. It argues they are not metasemantically different from those in other gradable adjectives, and that contextual parameters of this sort are widespread in natural language. Furthermore, this paper shows that if such parameters are rejected, it leads to an unacceptably rampant form of relativism, that relativizes truth to an open-ended list of parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Context dependence
  • Gradable adjective
  • Metasemantics
  • Predicate of personal taste
  • Relativism
  • Semantic value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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