Adjectives, Predicative and Attributive
Discusses Geach’s contrast between ‘logically predicative’ and ‘logically attributive’ adjectives. Sibley argues that Geach conflates two distinctions, one of which, between those predicates that can be split up and those that cannot, are of high relevance to the nature of aesthetic terms. Thus ‘x is a red car’ splits into a pair of predications ‘x is red’ and ‘x is a car’, whereas ‘x is a big flea’ does not split up into ‘x is big’ and ‘x is a flea’. While Sibley rejects Geach’s own umbrella test for essentially attributive adjectives, he proposes, rather tentatively, that in the proposition ‘x is A’, when ‘A’ is an essentially attributive adjective, one must understand some class of things, without necessarily knowing the noun by which they are called.
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