If we cannot agree that evaluations are judgements that both describe things (ascribing properties to them) and express sentiments, we lack any shared understanding of a common topic. If we ever come to agree how the describing and expressing relate, we shall lose a debate. Suppose that evaluation is a mode of description essentially expressive of sentiment, and that some evaluations can be known to be true: then there must exist properties of such a kind that they can be apprehended only from appropriately affective points of view. Alternatively, it may be that evaluation involves some element distinct from description, so that, in principle, one could always accept the descriptive core of an evaluation while distancing oneself from a non-descriptive element that makes it evaluative. We may distinguish the two kinds of view as lumping, or descriptivist-cum-expressivist, and splitting, or descriptivist-plus-expressivist. Both ascribe to evaluations an expressive aspect as well as a descriptive content; what is at issue is whether the former is integral to the latter, or detachable from it.
A. W. Price is Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London.