v5n6: Taylor on Sparks on How Markets Change Meaning

Semiotic Arguments and Markets in Votes: A Comment on Sparks by James Stacey Taylor

A COMMENTARY ON Jacob Sparks (2017), “Can’t Buy Me Love: A Reply to Brennan and Jaworski,” J Philos Res (Online First): https://doi.org/10.5840/jpr2017425101

Jacob Sparks has developed a semiotic critique of markets that is based on the fact that “market exchanges express preferences.” He argues that some market transactions will reveal that the purchaser of a market good inappropriately prefers it to a similar non-market good. This avoids Brennan and Jaworski’s criticism that semiotic objections to markets fail as the meaning of market transactions are contingent social facts. I argue that Sparks’ argument is both incomplete and doomed to fail. It can only show that some preferences are morally problematic, not that the transactions that they lead to are immoral.

To download the full PDF, click here: Taylor on Sparks

James Stacey Taylor is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at The College of New Jersey

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