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  1. G. 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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Fact-Value Distinction
  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. John Collier (2000). Is There Any Virtue in Modern Science? Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):773-784.
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  4. Julian Dodd & Suzanne Stern-Gillet (1995). The Is/Ought Gap, the Fact/Value Distinction and the Naturalistic Fallacy. Dialogue 34 (04):727-.
  5. 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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  6. Per Nortvedt (2005). On the Fact-Value Distinction and the Phenomenology of Caring. Nursing Philosophy 6 (2):81–82.
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  7. 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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  8. Re'em Segev (2006). Justification, Rationality and Mistake: Mistake of Law is No Excuse? It Might Be a Justificaton! [REVIEW] 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. Pekka Väyrynen (2014). Shapelessness in Context. Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
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  12. 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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  13. 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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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 (03):376-.
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  3. 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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  4. Norbert Anwander (2001). Ruth Chang, Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (2):193-195.
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  5. 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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  6. Carla Bagnoli (2006). Breaking Ties: The Significance of Choice in Symmetrical Moral Dilemmas. Dialectica 60 (2):157–170.
  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. John Broome (2009). Reply to Rabinowicz. Philosophical Issues 19 (1):412-417.
  11. 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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  12. John Broome (1997). Is Incommensurability Vagueness? In Ruth Chang (ed.), Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press.
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  13. Erik Carlson (2013). Vagueness, Incomparability, and the Collapsing Principle. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):449-463.
    John Broome has argued that incomparability and vagueness cannot coexist in a given betterness order. His argument essentially hinges on an assumption he calls the ‘collapsing principle’. In an earlier article I criticized this principle, but Broome has recently expressed doubts about the cogency of my criticism. Moreover, Cristian Constantinescu has defended Broome’s view from my objection. In this paper, I present further arguments against the collapsing principle, and try to show that Constantinescu’s defence of Broome’s position fails.
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  14. Erik Carlson (2011). The Small-Improvement Argument Rescued. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):171-174.
    Gustafsson and Espinoza have recently argued that the ‘small-improvement argument’, against completeness as a rationality requirement for preference orderings, is defective. They claim that the two main premises of the argument conflict, and hence should not both be accepted. I show that this conflict can be avoided by modifying one of the premises.
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  15. Erik Carlson (2010). Parity Demystified. Theoria 76 (2):119-128.
    Ruth Chang has defended a concept of "parity", implying that two items may be evaluatively comparable even though neither item is better than or equally good as the other. This article takes no stand on whether there actually are cases of parity. Its aim is only to make the hitherto somewhat obscure notion of parity more precise, by defining it in terms of the standard value relations. Given certain plausible assumptions, the suggested definiens is shown to state a necessary and (...)
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  16. Erik Carlson (2004). Broome's Argument Against Value Incomparability. Utilitas 16 (2):220-224.
    John Broome has argued that alleged cases of value incomparability are really examples of vagueness in the betterness relation. The main premiss of his argument is ‘the collapsing principle’. I argue that this principle is dubious, and that Broome's argument is therefore unconvincing. Correspondence:c1 Erik.Carlson@filosofi.uu.se.
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  17. David K. Chan (2010). Reasoning Without Comparing. American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):153-164.
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  18. Ruth Chang (2012). Are Hard Choices Cases of Incomparability? Philosophical Issues 22 (1):106-126.
    This paper presents an argument against the widespread view that ‘hard choices’ are hard because of the incomparability of the alternatives. The argument has two parts. First, I argue that any plausible theory of practical reason must be ‘comparativist’ in form, that is, it must hold that a comparative relation between the alternatives with respect to what matters in the choice determines a justified choice in that situation. If comparativist views of practical reason are correct, however, the incomparabilist view of (...)
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  19. Ruth Chang (2005). Parity, Interval Value, and Choice. Ethics 115 (2):331-350.
    This paper begins with a response to Josh Gert’s challenge that ‘on a par with’ is not a sui generis fourth value relation beyond ‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’. It then explores two further questions: can parity be modeled by an interval representation of value? And what should one rationally do when faced with items on a par? I argue that an interval representation of value is incompatible with the possibility that items are on a par (a mathematical (...)
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  20. Ruth Chang (2004). All Things Considered. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):1–22.
    One of the most common judgments of normative life takes the following form: With respect to some things that matter, one item is better than the other, with respect to other things that matter, the other item is better, but all things considered – that is, taking into account all the things that matter – the one item is better than the other. In this paper, I explore how all-things-considered judgments are possible, assuming that they are. In particular, I examine (...)
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  21. Ruth Chang (2002). Making Comparisons Count. Routledge.
    The central aim of this book is to answer two questions: Are alternatives for choice ever incomparable? and, In what ways can items be compared? The arguments offered suggest that alternatives for choice no matter how different are never incomparable, and that the ways in which items can be compared are richer and more varied than commonly supposed. This work is the first book length treatment of the topics of incomparability, value, and practical reason.
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  22. Ruth Chang (2002). The Possibility of Parity. Ethics 112 (4):659-688.
    This paper argues for the existence of a fourth positive generic value relation that can hold between two items beyond ‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’: namely ‘on a par’.
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  23. Ruth Chang (2001). Against Constitutive Incommensurability or Buying and Selling Friends. Noûs 35 (s1):33 - 60.
    Recently, some of the leading proponents of the view that there is widespread incommensurability among goods have suggested that the incommensurability of some goods is a constitutive feature of the goods themselves. So, for example, a friendship and a million dollars are incommensurable because it is part of what it is to be a friendship that it be incommensurable with money. According to these ‘constitutive incommensurabilists’ incommensurability follows from the very nature of certain goods. In this paper, I examine this (...)
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  24. Ruth Chang (ed.) (1997). Introduction, Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reasoning. Harvard University Press.
    This paper is the introduction to the volume. It gives an argumentative view of the philosophical landscape concerning incommensurability and incomparability. It argues that incomparability, not incommensurability, is the important phenomenon on which philosophers should be focusing and that the arguments for the existence of incomparability are so far not compelling.
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  25. Ruth Chang (ed.) (1997). Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press.
    And what are the implications for moral and legal decision making? In this book, some of the sharpest minds in philosophy struggle with these questions.
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  26. Cristian Constantinescu (2012). Value Incomparability and Indeterminacy. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):57-70.
    Two competing accounts of value incomparability have been put forward in the recent literature. According to the standard account, developed most famously by Joseph Raz, ‘incomparability’ means determinate failure of the three classic value relations ( better than , worse than , and equally good ): two value-bearers are incomparable with respect to a value V if and only if (i) it is false that x is better than y with respect to V , (ii) it is false that x (...)
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  27. Ronald B. De Sousa (1974). The Good and the True. Mind 83 (332):534-551.
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  28. Luke Elson (2014). Borderline Cases and the Collapsing Principle. Utilitas 26 (1):51-60.
    John Broome has argued that value incommensurability is vagueness, by appeal to a controversial about comparative indeterminacy. I offer a new counterexample to the collapsing principle. That principle allows us to derive an outright contradiction from the claim that some object is a borderline case of some predicate. But if there are no borderline cases, then the principle is empty. The collapsing principle is either false or empty.
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  29. Luke Elson (2014). Heaps and Chains: Is the Chaining Argument for Parity a Sorites? Ethics 124 (3):557-571.
    I argue that the Ruth Chang’s Chaining Argument for her parity view of value incomparability trades illicitly on the vagueness of the predicate ‘is comparable with’. Chang is alert to this danger and argues that the predicate is not vague, but this defense does not succeed. The Chaining Argument also faces a dilemma. The predicate is either vague or precise. If it is vague, then the argument is most plausibly a sorites. If it is precise, then the argument is either (...)
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  30. Nicolas Espinoza (2008). The Small Improvement Argument. Synthese 165 (1):127 - 139.
    It is commonly assumed that moral deliberation requires that the alternatives available in a choice situation are evaluatively comparable. This comparability assumption is threatened by claims of incomparability, which is often established by means of the small improvement argument (SIA). In this paper I argue that SIA does not establish incomparability in a stricter sense. The reason is that it fails to distinguish incomparability from a kind of evaluative indeterminacy which may arise due to the vagueness of the evaluative comparatives (...)
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  31. David Fagelson (2002). Justice As Integrity: Objectivity And Social Meaning In Legal Theory. Social And Legal Studies 11 (4):569-588.
  32. Joshua Gert (2004). Value and Parity. Ethics 114 (3):492-510.
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  33. Joshua Gert (2003). Requiring and Justifying: Two Dimensions of Normative Strength. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 59 (1):5 - 36.
    Many contemporary accounts of normative reasons for action accord a single strength value to normative reasons. This paper first uses some examples to argue against such views by showing that they seem to commit us to intransitive or counterintuitive claims about the rough equivalence of the strengths of certain reasons. The paper then explains and defends an alternate account according to which normative reasons for action have two separable dimensions of strength: requiring strength, and justifying strength. Such an account explains (...)
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  34. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Indeterminacy and the Small-Improvement Argument. Utilitas 25 (4):433–445.
    In this article, I argue that the small-improvement fails since some of the comparisons involved in the argument might be indeterminate. I defend this view from two objections by Ruth Chang, namely the argument from phenomenology and the argument from perplexity. There are some other objections to the small-improvement argument that also hinge on claims about indeterminacy. John Broome argues that alleged cases of value incomparability are merely examples of indeterminacy in the betterness relation. The main premise of his argument (...)
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  35. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Value-Preference Symmetry and Fitting-Attitude Accounts of Value Relations. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):476–491.
    Joshua Gert and Wlodek Rabinowicz have developed frameworks for value relations that are rich enough to allow for non-standard value relations such as parity. Yet their frameworks do not allow for any non-standard preference relations. In this paper, I shall defend a symmetry between values and preferences, namely, that for every value relation, there is a corresponding preference relation, and vice versa. I claim that if the arguments that there are non-standard value relations are cogent, these arguments, mutatis mutandis, also (...)
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  36. Johan E. Gustafsson (2011). An Extended Framework for Preference Relations. Economics and Philosophy 27 (3):360–367.
    In order to account for non-traditional preference relations the present paper develops a new, richer framework for preference relations. This new framework provides characterizations of non-traditional preference relations, such as incommensurateness and instability, that may hold when neither preference nor indifference do. The new framework models relations with swaps, which are conceived of as transfers from one alternative state to another. The traditional framework analyses dyadic preference relations in terms of a hypothetical choice between the two compared alternatives. The swap (...)
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