Hard cases of comparison

Messerli, Michael; Reuter, Kevin (2017). Hard cases of comparison. Philosophical Studies, 174(9), pp. 2227-2250. Springer 10.1007/s11098-016-0796-y

[img] Text
art_10.1007_s11098-016-0796-y.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only until 8 October 2021.
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (485kB) | Request a copy

In hard cases of comparison, people are faced with two options neither of which is conceived of as better, worse, or equally good compared to the other. Most philosophers claim that hard cases (1) can indeed be distinguished from cases in which two options are equally good, and (2) can be characterized by a failure of transitive reasoning. It is a much more controversial matter and at the heart of an ongoing debate, whether the options in hard cases of comparison should be interpreted as incomparable, on par, or roughly equal. So far, however, none of these claims and interpretations have been tested. This paper presents the first empirical investigation on hard cases, intransitive reasoning, and incomparability. Our results reveal that hard cases present real-world dilemmas in which a significant majority of people violate transitivity. After suggesting a way of operationalizing the notion of incomparability, we provide empirical evidence that the options in some hard cases are not considered to be incomparable. Theories of rough equality or parity seem to provide better interpretations of our results.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Messerli, Michael and Reuter, Kevin

Subjects:

100 Philosophy

ISSN:

1573-0883

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Kevin Reuter

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2017 14:31

Last Modified:

29 Jul 2017 01:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s11098-016-0796-y

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.98805

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/98805

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback