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  1. Johannes Bechert (1991). The Problem of Semantic Incomparability. In Dietmar Zaefferer (ed.), Semantic Universals and Universal Semantics. Foris Publications 12--60.
  2. H. Bradbury & T. M. Nelson (1973). Transitivity and the Patterns of Adult Preferences. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 1 (5):337-339.
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  3. Ruth Chang (2013). Incommensurability (and Incomparability). In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell 2591-2604.
    This encyclopedia entry urges what it takes to be correctives to common (mis)understandings concerning the phenomenon of incommensurability and incomparability and briefly outlines some of their philosophical upshots.
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  4. Bengt Hansson (1968). Choice Structures and Preference Relations. Synthese 18 (4):443 - 458.
  5. N. Hsieh (forthcoming). Is Incomparability a Problem for Anyone?, Forthcoming In. Economics and Philosophy.
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  6. H. P. McDonald (2003). First Philosophy in the Pragmatic Humanism of F.C.S. Schiller. International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (4):503-525.
    During his lifetime, F.C.S. Schiller was viewed as a major figure in the pragmatist movement, but his reputation has faded. This article will challenge the view that he was an unoriginal or less important figure. In particular, I will attempt a reconstruction of Schiller’s position on first philosophy, which will examine the differences between Schiller and the other major figures in the pragmatist movement. By using texts from Schiller’s writings, I attempt to create an undistorted reconstruction of what he wrote (...)
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  7. Graham Oddie (2001). Axiological Atomism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):313 – 332.
    Value is either additive or else it is subject to organic unity. In general we have organic unity where a complex whole is not simply the sum of its parts. Value exhibits organic unity if the value of a complex, whether a complex state or complex quality, is greater or less than the sum of the values of its components or parts. Whether or not value is additive might be thought to be of purely metaphysical interest, but it is also (...)
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  8. Mozaffar Qizilbash (2007). The Mere Addition Paradox, Parity and Vagueness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):129–151.
    Derek Parfit’s mere addition paradox has generated a large literature. This paper articulates one response to this paradox - which Parfit hirnself suggested - in terms of a formal account of the relation of parity. I term this response the ‘parity view’. It is consistent with transitivity of ‘at least as good as’, but implies incompleteness of this relation. The parity view is compatible with critical-band utilitarianism if this is adjusted to allow for vagueness. John Broome argues against accounts which (...)
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  9. Wlodek Rabinowicz, Value Relations: Old Wine in New Barrels.
    In Rabinowicz 2008, I considered how value relations can best be analyzed in terms of fitting pro-­‐attitudes. In the formal model presented in that paper fitting pro-­‐attitudes are represented by the class of permissible preference orderings on a domain of items that are being compared. As it turns out, this approach opens up for a multiplicity of different types of value relationships, along with the standard relations of "better", "worse", "equally as good as" and "incomparable in value". Unfortunately, though, the (...)
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  10. L. A. Zadeh (1977). Linguistic Characterization of Preference Relations as a Basis for Choice in Social Systems. Erkenntnis 11 (1):383 - 410.
Fact-Value Distinction
  1. Alan Ross Anderson, Max Black, Irving M. Copi, Campbell Crockett, Abraham Edel & Arthur Pap (1956). Comments on Kolenda's Theses. Review of Metaphysics 10 (1):108 - 117.
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  2. Alexei Angelides (2003). The Collapse of the Fact/Value Distinction and Other Essays. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 24 (1):235-242.
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  3. Stephen W. Ball (1988). Evolution, Explanation, and the Fact/Value Distinction. Biology and Philosophy 3 (3):317-348.
    Though modern non-cognitivists in ethics characteristically believe that values are irreducible to facts, they nevertheless believe that values are determined by facts, viz., those specified in functionalist, explanatory theories of the evolutionary origin of morality. The present paper probes the consistency of this position. The conventionalist theories of Hume and Harman are examined, and are seen not to establish a tight determinative reduction of values to facts. This result is illustrated by reference to recent theories of the sociobiological mechanisms involved (...)
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  4. Maria Brincker (2010). Moving Beyond Mirroring - a Social Affordance Model of Sensorimotor Integration During Action Perception. Dissertation, City University of New York
    The discovery of so-called ‘mirror neurons’ - found to respond both to own actions and the observation of similar actions performed by others - has been enormously influential in the cognitive sciences and beyond. Given the self-other symmetry these neurons have been hypothesized as underlying a ‘mirror mechanism’ that lets us share representations and thereby ground core social cognitive functions from intention understanding to linguistic abilities and empathy. I argue that mirror neurons are important for very different reasons. Rather than (...)
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  5. John Collier (2000). Is There Any Virtue in Modern Science? Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):773-784.
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  6. Julian Dodd & Suzanne Stern-Gillet (1995). The Is/Ought Gap, the Fact/Value Distinction and the Naturalistic Fallacy. Dialogue 34 (04):727-.
  7. Jeffrey Ernest Foss (1977). Knowledge and Values. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
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  8. Irwin Goldstein (2000). Intersubjective Properties by Which We Specify Pain, Pleasure, and Other Kinds of Mental States. Philosophy 75 (291):89-104.
    By what types of properties do we specify twinges, toothaches, and other kinds of mental states? Wittgenstein considers two methods. Procedure one, direct, private acquaintance: A person connects a word to the sensation it specifies through noticing what that sensation is like in his own experience. Procedure two, outward signs: A person pins his use of a word to outward, pre-verbal signs of the sensation. I identify and explain a third procedure and show we in fact specify many kinds of (...)
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  9. Per Nortvedt (2005). On the Fact-Value Distinction and the Phenomenology of Caring. Nursing Philosophy 6 (2):81–82.
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  10. Govind C. Persad (2009). Risk, Everyday Intuitions, and the Institutional Value of Tort Law. Stan. L. Rev 62:1445.
    This Note offers a normative critique of cost-benefit analysis, one informed by deontological moral theory, in the context of the debate over whether tort litigation or a non-tort approach is the appropriate response to mass harm. The first Part argues that the difference between lay and expert intuitions about risk and harm often reflects a difference in normative judgments about the existing facts, rather than a difference in belief about what facts exist, which makes the lay intuitions more defensible. The (...)
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  11. Debbie Roberts (2013). 'It's Evaluation, Only Thicker'. In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press
  12. Debbie Roberts (2011). Shapelessness and the Thick. Ethics 121 (3):489-520.
    This article aims to clarify the view that thick concepts are irreducibly thick. I do this by putting the disentangling argument in its place and then setting out what nonreductivists about the thick are committed to. To distinguish the view from possible reductive accounts, defenders of irreducible thickness are, I argue, committed to the claim that evaluative concepts and properties are nonevaluatively shapeless. This in turn requires a commitment to (radical) holism and particularism. Nonreductivists are also committed to the claim (...)
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  13. Re'em Segev (2006). Justification, Rationality and Mistake: Mistake of Law is No Excuse? It Might Be a Justificaton! Law and Philosophy 25 (1):31-79.
    According to a famous maxim, ignorance or mistake of law is no excuse. This maxim is supposed to represent both the standard and the proper rule of law. In fact, this maxim should be qualified in both respects: ignorance and mistake of law sometimes are, and (perhaps even more often) should be, excused. But this dual qualification only reinforces the fundamental and ubiquitous assumption which underlies the discussions of the subject, namely, that the only ground of exculpation relevant to ignorance (...)
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  14. J. J. C. Smart (1999). Ruth Anna Putnam and the Fact-Value Distinction. Philosophy 74 (3):431-437.
    This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness or (...)
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  15. Narve Strand (2011). Putnam and the Political. Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (7):743-757.
    This article deals with how to talk about the political. After the introduction (I), I show, first, that Putnam’s arguments against the root dichotomies between facts and values (II), and between values and norms (III), are valid. I then discuss Putnam’s resistance to drawing skeptical lessons from these negative arguments, a fight that is largely successful (IV). I go on to sketch his own middle position, looking at the way he expands cognitive meaning in the practical sphere (V). I end (...)
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  16. Christine Tappolet & Mauro Rossi (2015). What is Value? Where Does It Come From? A Philosophical Perspective. In Tobias Brosch & David Sander (eds.), The Value Handbook: The Affective Sciences of Values and Valuation. 3-22.
    Are values objective or subjective? To clarify this question we start with an overview of the main concepts and debates in the philosophy of values. We then discuss the arguments for and against value realism, the thesis that there are objective evaluative facts. By contrast with value anti-realism, which is generally associated with sentimentalism, according to which evaluative judgements are grounded in sentiments, value realism is commonly coupled with rationalism. Against this common view, we argue that value realism can be (...)
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  17. Pekka Väyrynen (2016). Thick Ethical Concepts. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: how exactly do thick terms and (...)
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  18. Pekka Väyrynen (2014). Shapelessness in Context. Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
    Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...)
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  19. Pekka Väyrynen (2013). The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty: A Study of Thick Concepts in Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    In addition to thin concepts like the good, the bad and the ugly, our evaluative thought and talk appeals to thick concepts like the lewd and the rude, the selfish and the cruel, the courageous and the kind -- concepts that somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. Thick concepts are almost universally assumed to be inherently evaluative in content, and many philosophers claimed them to have deep and distinctive significance in ethics and metaethics. In this first book-length treatment of thick (...)
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  20. Pekka Väyrynen (2012). Thick Concepts: Where's Evaluation? In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 7. Oxford University Press 235-70.
    This paper presents an alternative to the standard view that the evaluations that the so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics may be used to convey belong to their sense or semantic meaning. I describe a large variety of linguistic data that are well explained by the alternative view that the evaluations that (at least a very wide range of) thick terms and concepts may be used to convey are a certain kind of defeasible implications of their utterances which can (...)
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  21. Cory D. Wright (2005). Review of Michael Lynch's 'True to Life: Why Truth Matters'. International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):271-273.
  22. Arnold Zuboff (2002). Morality and Hot Mud. Philosophy Now 37:39-40.
    For a while in this article it seems impossible to articulate a compelling reason for refraining from killing an innocent stranger with the press of a button when this would earn one a small prize and would be done with absolutely guaranteed immunity from any punishment or other harm (including even an instantaneous elimination of any chance of a guilty memory, achieved through hypnosis, and an ironclad commitment from God not to condemn the killing). After many failed attempts, a compelling (...)
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  23. Arnold Zuboff (2001). Why Should I Care About Morality? Philosophy Now 31:24-27.
    For a while in this article it seems impossible to articulate a compelling reason for refraining from killing an innocent stranger with the press of a button when this would earn one a small prize and would be done with absolutely guaranteed immunity from any punishment or other harm (including even an instantaneous elimination of any chance of a guilty memory, achieved through hypnosis, and an ironclad commitment from God not to condemn the killing). After many failed attempts, a compelling (...)
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  24. Arnold Zuboff (1995). Morality as What One Really Desires. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20 (1):142-164.
    If I desire to drink some stuff thinking it is hot chocolate when actually it is hot mud, my desire is not a real one - it’s mistaken or only apparent. This example illustrates how a desire must always depend on a belief about its object, a belief about what it is and what it’s like. But beliefs are correctable, so desires are correctable. This leads us directly to a very sweeping principle - that I only really desire what I (...)
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Incommensurability of Value
  1. Joaquín Jareño Alarcón (2006). Value Pluralism and Valuable Pluralism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:91-95.
    One of the most influential ideas in recent discussions in political philosophy and philosophy of values has been Isaiah Berlin's value pluralism. Given that different ways of living embody different applications of values, it is really difficult to talk about objectivity in the domain of morals. But if we reject the existence of criteria that allow us to judge among different moral proposals, we are led to recognize the prejudiced character of our convictions: their ethnocentric character. In my opinion, this (...)
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  2. Andrew Altman (2003). Joseph Raz, Value, Respect, and Attachment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001, Pp. Vi + 178. Utilitas 15 (3):376.
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  3. Henrik Andersson (forthcoming). Parity and Comparability—a Concern Regarding Chang’s Chaining Argument. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-9.
    According to Ruth Chang the three standard positive value relations: “better than”, “worse than” and “equally good” do not fully exhaust the conceptual space for positive value relations. According to her, there is room for a fourth positive value relation, which she calls “parity”. Her argument for parity comes in three parts. First, she argues that there are items that are not related by the standard three value relations. Second, that these items are not incomparable, and third, that the phenomena (...)
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  4. Henrik Andersson (2015). Propping Up the Collapsing Principle. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):475-486.
    According to a standard account of incomparability, two value bearers are incomparable if it is false that there holds a positive value relation between them. Due to the vagueness of the comparative predicates it may also be indeterminate as to which relation that holds - for each relation it is neither true nor false that it holds. John Broome has argued that indeterminacy cannot coexist with incomparability and since there seems to exist indeterminacy there cannot exist incomparability. At the core (...)
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  5. Chrisoula Andreou (2005). Incommensurable Alternatives and Rational Choice. Ratio 18 (3):249–261.
    I consider the implications of incommensurability for the assumption, in rational choice theory, that a rational agent’s preferences are complete. I argue that, contrary to appearances, the completeness assumption and the existence of incommensurability are compatible. Indeed, reflection on incommensurability suggests that one’s preferences should be complete over even the incommensurable alternatives one faces.
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  6. Norbert Anwander (2001). Ruth Chang, Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (2):193-195.
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  7. Gustaf Arrhenius & Wlodek Rabinowicz (2005). Millian Superiorities. Utilitas 17 (2):127-146.
    Suppose one sets up a sequence of less and less valuable objects such that each object in the sequence is only marginally worse than its immediate predecessor. Could one in this way arrive at something that is dramatically inferior to the point of departure? It has been claimed that if there is a radical value difference between the objects at each end of the sequence, then at some point there must be a corresponding radical difference between the adjacent elements. The (...)
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  8. Carla Bagnoli (2006). Breaking Ties: The Significance of Choice in Symmetrical Moral Dilemmas. Dialectica 60 (2):157–170.
    In symmetrical moral dilemmas, the agent faces a choice between two incompatible actions, which are equally justified on the basis of the same value. These cases are generally discounted as spurious or irrelevant on the assumption that, when there is no failure of commensurability, choice between symmetrical requirements is indifferent and can be determined by randomization. Alternatively, this article argues that the appeal to randomization allows the agent to overcome a deliberative impasse, but it does not really resolve the moral (...)
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  9. Carla Bagnoli (2000). Value in the Guise of Regret. Philosophical Explorations 3 (2):169 – 187.
    According to a widely accepted philosophical model, agent-regret is practically significant and appropriate when the agent committed a mistake, or she faced a conflict of obligations. I argue that this account misunderstands moral phenomenology because it does not adequately characterize the object of agent-regret. I suggest that the object of agent-regret should be defined in terms of valuable unchosen alternatives supported by reasons. This model captures the phenomenological varieties of regret and explains its practical significance for the agent. My contention (...)
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  10. Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield (2014). Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously to agents with incomplete (...)
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  11. Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.) (2006). Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press.
    Practical conflicts pervade human life. Agents have many different desires, goals, and commitments, all of which can come into conflict with each other. How can practical reasoning help to resolve these practical conflicts? In this collection of essays a distinguished roster of philosophers analyse the diverse forms of practical conflict. Their aim is to establish an understanding of the sources of these conflicts, to investigate the challenge they pose to an adequate conception of practical reasoning, and to assess the degree (...)
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  12. Michel Bitbol (2011). The Quantum Structure of Knowledge. Axiomathes 21 (2):357-371.
    This paper analyzes how conflicts of perspective are resolved in the field of the human sciences. Examples of such conflicts are the duality between the actor and spectator standpoints, or the duality of participancy between a form of social life and a socio-anthropological study of it. This type of duality look irreducible, because the conflicting positions express incompatible interests. Yet, the claim of incommensurability is excessive. There exists a level of mental activity at which dialogue and resolution are possible. Reaching (...)
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  13. Martijn Boot (2009). Parity, Incomparability and Rationally Justified Choice. Philosophical Studies 146 (1):75 - 92.
    This article discusses the possibility of a rationally justified choice between two options neither of which is better than the other while they are not equally good either (‘3NT’). Joseph Raz regards such options as incomparable and argues that reason cannot guide the choice between them. Ruth Chang, by contrast, tries to show that many cases of putative incomparability are instead cases of parity—a fourth value relation of comparability, in addition to the three standard value relations ‘better than’, ‘worse than’ (...)
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  14. John Broome (2009). Reply to Rabinowicz. Philosophical Issues 19 (1):412-417.
  15. John Broome (2004). Weighing Lives. Oxford University Press.
    We are often faced with choices that involve the weighing of people's lives against each other, or the weighing of lives against other good things. These are choices both for individuals and for societies. A person who is terminally ill may have to choose between palliative care and more aggressive treatment, which will give her a longer life but at some cost in suffering. We have to choose between the convenience to ourselves of road and air travel, and the lives (...)
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  16. John Broome (2000). Incommensurable values. In Roger Crisp & Brad Hooker (eds.), Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin. Clarendon Press 21--38.
    Two options are incommensurate in value if neither is better than the other, and if a small improvement or worsening of one does not necessarily make it determinately better or worse than the other. If a person faces a sequence of choices between incommensurate options, she may end up with a worse options than she could have had, even though none of her choices are irrational. Yet it seems that rationality should save her from this bad outcome. This is the (...)
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