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Thick Concepts

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Abstract

In ethics, aesthetics and increasingly in epistemology, a distinction is drawn between thick and thin evaluative concepts. A common characterisation of the distinction is that thin concepts have only evaluative content, whereas thick concepts combine evaluative and descriptive content. Because of this combination, it is again commonly thought that thick concepts have various distinctive powers including the power to undermine the distinction between fact and value. This paper discusses the accuracy of this view of the thick concepts debate, as well as assessing the prospects for a thick concepts argument against the fact value distinction, while introducing the three main philosophical positions on the nature of thick concepts.

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