Abstract: In ethics, aesthetics, and increasingly in epistemology, a distinction is drawn between thick and thinevaluative 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 thiscombination it is, again commonly, thought that thick concepts have various distinctive powersincluding the power to undermine the distinction between fact and value. This paper discusses theaccuracy of this view of the thick concepts debate, as well as assessing the prospects for a thickconcepts argument against the fact value distinction, while introducing the three main philosophicalpositions on the nature of thick concepts.
Comment: Useful in metaethics courses and relates to work by Bernard Williams, but it is also useful for translating to epistemic values too e.g. in virtue epistemology.