2Vanilla ice cream tastes better than chocolate to John

These are two different propositions. There is certainly no logical conflict between them: they could both be true. But in that case, Julie and John

2 There is one slight complication, however: statements of this kind may mean that something is preferred or liked by most people. For example, this is plausibly what someone means who says: 'Soured milk does not taste good'. Nevertheless, these statements are still implicitly relative, because they still depend for their truth on reference to people's preferences. In such a case, the statement is a generalisation about people's actual preferences rather than a statement of one person's preference.

do not really disagree: there is not one proposition here that either Julie or John asserts, and that the other denies. They are not really disagreeing about the truth-value of the same proposition. That is, they do not dispute the facts of the matter; their claims are simply expressions of different preferences. To continue to dispute such an issue would be a waste of time. Indeed, notice that (1) and (2) are no longer implicitly speaker-relative; they are explicitly speaker-relative. So there should be no temptation to say that the truth of either (1) or (2) depends on who is making the claim. If you say 'Chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla', then you are implicitly talking about yourself, and the truth of what you say depends on facts about you (your preferences). If you assert (1), however, the truth of your assertion depends only on facts about Julie, not on facts about you.

It should not be supposed that implicit speaker-relativity always has to do with preferences and the like. Suppose, for example, that John has very fair skin, and says 'The sun is too strong' during a walk on a Mediterranean beach. He refers to the danger of sunburn. Julie has darker skin that is less sensitive to the sun; she says 'No, it isn't'. In such a case, it may well be that John is really saying that the sun is too strong for him, and Julie is saying that it isn't too strong for her. So there is no immediate factual disagreement. It is a case of implicit speaker-relativity, but it does not concern preferences, as in the case of ice cream.

Having discussed the concept of implicit speaker-relativity, we are now in a position to confront the myth that truth is relative.

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600 Chocolate Recipes

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