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Summary The general theme of this category is the idea of defining, analyzing or otherwise explaining one kind of evaluative or normative concept or property in terms of another kind of evaluative or normative concept or property. This broad idea is commonly referred to as the fitting attitude account of value, because its early proponents suggested defining value in terms of concepts such as fittingness or correctness of attitudes, e.g., 'x is good' as 'x is a fitting object of a favourable attitude' (Ewing), or 'it is correct to love x' (Brentano). Subsequent accounts used analogous concepts such as 'contemplation of x requires that one favor x' (Chisholm, Lemos). Thomas Scanlon revived this tradition by proposing that x's goodness be understood as the property of having other properties which provide reasons to value x in one or more different ways (admire, care for, protect, etc.). He named his account 'buck-passing' to signal that the property of goodness itself does not provide reasons to value what is good, but 'passes the normative buck' to the other properties which the good thing has and make it good. In this sense the buck-passing account is an intra-normative reductive account of value properties or concepts. The same structure can be applied to other normative notions, e.g. some propose to understand all normative concepts in terms of reasons (or fitting attitudes), including moral ones such as rightness and  wrongness. The debate has centered around some difficulties for the fitting attitude/buck-passing account, such as the so called wrong kind of reasons problem (WKR). If a demon orders me to admire a saucer of mud (for its own sake), or else humankind will go extinct, it seems there are very good reasons for me to admire the saucer of mud, but this cannot mean that the saucer of mud is good or valuable (for its own sake). A vast number of papers have contributed by either proposing refinements to the analysis to avoid such counterexamples or by criticizing such refinements.
Key works Early fitting attitude style analysis can be found in Sidgwick 1907 ('ought to desire'), Brentano 1889/1969 ('correct love'), but it is A.C.Ewing (Ewing 1979) who develops it systematically (1947), and then refines it in Ewing 1959, indeed anticipating Scanlon's buck-passing account in terms of reasons (Scanlon 1998, chapter 2). Other notable works, focusing on the concept of requirement, are Chisholm 1986, Lemos 1994, Zimmerman 2001. Key papers on the wrong kind of reason problem are Crisp 2000, D'Arms & Jacobson 2000 and Rabinowicz & Rønnow‐Rasmussen 2004. For some responses, see: Stratton‐Lake 2005, Skorupski 2007, Olson 2004, Danielsson & Olson 2007, Schroeder 2010. For papers dealing with issues different from the WKR problem, see Väyrynen 2006, Bykvist 2009, Olson 2009. Articles which serve well as introductions as well as highlighting difficulties for the fitting attitude account are: Dancy 2000, Zimmerman 2007.
Introductions Jacobson 2011, Suikkanen 2009, Stratton-Lake & Hooker 2006, Dancy 2000, Rabinowicz & Rønnow‐Rasmussen 2004
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  1. Michael Brady (ed.) (2011). New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Metaethics occupies a central place in analytical philosophy, and the last forty years has seen an upsurge of interest in questions about the nature and practice of morality. This collection presents original and ground-breaking research on metaethical issues from some of the very best of a new generation of philosophers working in this field.
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  2. Michael S. Brady (2008). Value and Fitting Emotions. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (4):465-475.
  3. Johan Brännmark (2009). Goodness, Values, Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):329 - 343.
    Contemporary value theory has been characterized by a renewed interest in the analysis of concepts like "good" or "valuable", the most prominent pattern of analysis in recent years being the socalled buck-passing or fitting-attitude analysis which reduces goodness to a matter of having properties that provide reasons for pro-attitudes. Here I argue that such analyses are best understood as metaphysical rather than linguistic and that while the buck-passing analysis has some virtues, it still fails to provide a suitably wide-ranging pattern (...)
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  4. Franz Brentano (1990). L'origine de la Connaissance Morale (1889). Revue de Métaphysique Et de Morale 95 (1):3 - 32.
  5. Franz Brentano (1889/1969). The Origin of Our Knowledge of Right and Wrong. Routledge.
    First published in 1969. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  6. Franz Brentano (1889). Vom Ursprung Sittlicher Erkenntnis. Duncker & Humblot.
    Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis. Ein Vortrag. Brentano, Vom Ursprung sittl, Erkenntnis, 1 I. Die Einladung zu einem Vortrage, welche die Iuristische Gesellschaft Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis Ein Vortrag Seite Wert der Geschichte und ...
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  7. C. D. Broad (1942). Certain Features in Moore's Ethical Doctrines. In P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Evanston and Chicago.
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  8. Richard Yetter Chappell (2012). Fittingness: The Sole Normative Primitive. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):684 - 704.
    This paper draws on the 'Fitting Attitudes' analysis of value to argue that we should take the concept of fittingness (rather than value) as our normative primitive. I will argue that the fittingness framework enhances the clarity and expressive power of our normative theorising. Along the way, we will see how the fittingness framework illuminates our understanding of various moral theories, and why it casts doubt on the Global Consequentialist idea that acts and (say) eye colours are normatively on a (...)
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  9. Timothy Chappell (2001). J. J. Kupperman, Value … And What Follows, New York, OUP, 1999, Pp. Vi + 168. Utilitas 13 (03):373-.
  10. Roderick M. Chisholm (1966). Brentano's Theory of Correct and Incorrect Emotion. Revue Interntionale de Philosophie 20:395-415.
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  11. Philip Cook (2008). An Augmented Buck-Passing Account of Reasons and Value: Scanlon and Crisp on What Stops the Buck. Utilitas 20 (4):490-507.
    Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and formal (...)
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  12. Christian Coons (2012). Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen, Personal Value. [REVIEW] Ethics 123 (1):183-188.
  13. Roger Crisp (2008). Goodness and Reasons: Accentuating the Negative. Mind 117 (466):257-265.
    This paper concerns the relation between goodness, or value, and practical reasons, and in particular the so-called ‘buck-passing’ account (BPA) of that relation recently offered by T. M. Scanlon, according to which goodness is not reason-providing but merely the higher-order property of possessing lower-order properties that provide reasons to respond in certain ways. The paper begins by briefly describing BPA and the motivation for it, noting that Scanlon now accepts that the lower-order properties in question may be evaluative. He also (...)
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  14. Roger Crisp (2005). Value, Reasons and the Structure of Justification: How to Avoid Passing the Buck. Analysis 65 (285):80–85.
  15. Jonathan Dancy (2000). Should We Pass the Buck? Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 47:159-173.
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  16. Sven Danielsson & Jonas Olson (2007). Brentano and the Buck-Passers. Mind 116 (463):511 - 522.
    According to T. M. Scanlon's 'buck-passing' analysis of value, x is good means that x has properties that provide reasons to take up positive attitudes vis-à-vis x. Some authors have claimed that this idea can be traced back to Franz Brentano, who said in 1889 that the judgement that x is good is the judgement that a positive attitude to x is correct ('richtig'). The most discussed problem in the recent literature on buckpassing is known as the 'wrong kind of (...)
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  17. Stephen Darwall (2000). Sidgwick, Concern, and the Good. Utilitas 12 (03):291-.
    Sidgwick maintains, plausibly, that the concept of a person's good is a normative one and takes for granted that it is normative for the agent's own choice and action. I argue that the normativity of a person's good must be understood in relation to concern for someone for that person's own sake. A person's good, I suggest, is what one should (rationally) want for that person in so far as one cares about him, or what one should want for him (...)
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  18. Guy Fletcher (2012). Resisting Buck-Passing Accounts of Prudential Value. Philosophical Studies 157 (1):77-91.
    This paper aims to cast doubt upon a certain way of analysing prudential value (or good for ), namely in the manner of a ‘buck-passing’ analysis. It begins by explaining why we should be interested in analyses of good for and the nature of buck-passing analyses generally (§I). It moves on to considering and rejecting two sets of buck-passing analyses. The first are analyses that are likely to be suggested by those attracted to the idea of analysing good for in (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Chris Heathwood (2008). Fitting Attitudes and Welfare. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3:47-73.
    The purpose of this paper is to present a new argument against so-called fitting attitude analyses of intrinsic value, according to which, roughly, for something to be intrinsically good is for there to be reasons to want it for its own sake. The argument is indirect. First, I submit that advocates of a fitting-attitude analysis of value should, for the sake of theoretical unity, also endorse a fitting-attitude analysis of a closely related but distinct concept: the concept of intrinsic value (...)
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  21. Ulrike Heuer (2010). Beyond Wrong Reasons: The Buck-Passing Account of Value. In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
  22. Ulrike Heuer (2004). Raz on Values and Reasons. In R. Jay Wallace, Philipp Pettit, Samuel Scheffler & Michael Smith (eds.), Reason and Value. Oxford University Press.
  23. Pamela Hieronymi (2005). The Wrong Kind of Reason. Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
    A good number of people currently thinking and writing about reasons identify a reason as a consideration that counts in favor of an action or attitude.1 I will argue that using this as our fundamental account of what a reason is generates a fairly deep and recalcitrant ambiguity; this account fails to distinguish between two quite different sets of considerations that count in favor of certain attitudes, only one of which are the “proper” or “appropriate” kind of reason for them. (...)
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  24. Daniel Jacobson, Fitting Attitude Theories of Value. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  25. Jens Johansson (2009). Fitting Attitudes, Welfare, and Time. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (3):247 - 256.
    Chris Heathwood has recently put forward a novel and ingenious argument against the view that intrinsic value is analyzable in terms of fitting attitudes. According to Heathwood, this view holds water only if the related but distinct concept of welfare—intrinsic value for a person —can be analyzed in terms of fitting attitudes too. Moreover, he argues against such an analysis of welfare by appealing to the rationality of our bias towards the future. In this paper, I argue that so long (...)
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  26. Christos Kyriacou (2013). How Not to Solve the Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem. Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (1-2):101-110.
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  27. Gerald Lang (2008). The Right Kind of Solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. Utilitas 20 (4):472-489.
    Recent discussion of Scanlon's account of value, which analyses the value of X in terms of agents' reasons for having certain pro-attitudes or contra-attitudes towards X, has generated the problem (WKR problem): this is the problem, for the buck-passing view, of being able to acknowledge that there may be good reasons for attributing final value to X that have nothing to do with the final value that X actually possesses. I briefly review some of the existing solutions offered to the (...)
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  28. S. Matthew Liao (2010). The Buck-Passing Account of Value: Lessons From Crisp. Philosophical Studies 151 (3):421 - 432.
    T. M. Scanlon's buck-passing account of value (BPA) has been subjected to a barrage of criticisms. Recently, to be helpful to BPA, Roger Crisp has suggested that a number of these criticisms can be met if one makes some revisions to BPA. In this paper, I argue that if advocates of the buck-passing account accepted these revisions, they would effectively be giving up the buck-passing account as it is typically understood, that is, as an account concerned with the conceptual priority (...)
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  29. Jennie Louise (2009). Correct Responses and the Priority of the Normative. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):345 - 364.
    The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, or (...)
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  30. Linda L. McAlister (1982). The Development of Franz Brentano's Ethics. Rodopi.
  31. Alexius Meinong (1895). Über Werthaltung Und Wert. Archiv für Systematische Philosophie 1:327–346.
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  32. Andrew Moore (2012). The Buck-Passing Stops Here. In Rationis Defensor.
    Thomas Scanlon influentially argues that, in the provision of reasons to act or believe, goodness and value ‘pass the buck’ to other properties. This paper first extends his arguments: if Scanlon shows that goodness and value pass the buck, then relevantly analogous arguments show that, contrary to Scanlon, duty and wrongness too pass this same buck. The paper then reverses Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments: if they show that goodness and value pass the reason-providing buck, then reasons themselves also pass the buck (...)
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  33. Jonas Olson (2009). The Wrong Kind of Solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. Utilitas 21 (2):225-232.
    The so-called Wrong Kind of Reason (WKR) problem for Scanlon's account of value has been much discussed recently. In a recent issue of Utilitas Gerald Lang provides a highly useful critique of extant proposed solutions to the WKR problem and suggests a novel solution of his own. In this note I offer a critique of Lang's solution and respond to some criticisms Lang directs at a Brentano-style approach suggested by Sven Danielsson and me.
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  34. Jonas Olson (2009). Fitting Attitude Analyses of Value and the Partiality Challenge. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):365 - 378.
    According to ‘Fitting Attitude’ (FA) analyses of value, for an object to be valuable is for that object to have properties—other than its being valuable—that make it a fitting object of certain responses. In short, if an object is positively valuable it is fitting to favour it; if an object is negatively valuable it is fitting to disfavour it. There are several variants of FA analyses. Some hold that for an object to be valuable is for it to be such (...)
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  35. Jonas Olson (2006). G. E. Moore on Goodness and Reasons. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):525 – 534.
    Several proponents of the 'buck-passing' account of value have recently attributed to G. E. Moore the implausible view that goodness is reason-providing. I argue that this attribution is unjustified. In addition to its historical significance, the discussion has an important implication for the contemporary value-theoretical debate: the plausible observation that goodness is not reason-providing does not give decisive support to the buck-passing account over its Moorean rivals. The final section of the paper is a survey of what can be said (...)
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  36. Jonas Olson (2004). Buck-Passing and the Wrong Kind of Reasons. Philosophical Quarterly 54 (215):295–300.
    According to T.M. Scanlon's buck-passing account of value, to be valuable is not to possess intrinsic value as a simple and unanalysable property, but rather to have other properties that provide reasons to take up an attitude in favour of their owner or against it. The 'wrong kind of reasons' objection to this view is that we may have reasons to respond for or against something without this having any bearing on its value. The challenge is to explain why such (...)
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  37. Francesco Orsi (2013). Fitting Attitudes and Solitary Goods. Mind 122 (487):687-698.
    In this paper I argue that Bykvist’s recent challenges to the fitting-attitude account of value (FA) can be successfully met. The challenge from solitary goods claims that FA cannot account for the value of states of affairs which necessarily rule out the presence of favouring subjects. I point out the modal reasons why FA can account for solitary goods by appealing to contemplative attitudes. Bykvist’s second challenge, the ‘distance problem’, questions the ability of FA to match facts about the intensity (...)
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  38. Francesco Orsi (2013). How to Be a Friend of Absolute Goodness. Philosophia 41 (4):1237-1251.
    This paper critically examines Richard Kraut’s attack on the notion of absolute value, and lays out some of the conceptual work required to defend such a notion. The view under attack claims that absolute goodness is a property that provides a reason to value what has it. Kraut’s overall challenge is that absolute goodness cannot play this role. Kraut’s own view is that goodness-for, instead, plays the reason-providing role. My targets are Kraut’s double-counting objection, and his ethical objection against absolute (...)
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  39. Francesco Orsi (2013). What's Wrong with Moorean Buck-Passing? Philosophical Studies 164 (3):727-746.
    In this paper I discuss and try to remove some major stumbling blocks for a Moorean buck-passing account of reasons in terms of value (MBP): There is a pro tanto reason to favour X if and only if X is intrinsically good, or X is instrumentally good, or favouring X is intrinsically good, or favouring X is instrumentally good. I suggest that MBP can embrace and explain the buck-passing intuition behind the far more popular buck-passing account of value, and has (...)
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  40. Francesco Orsi (2006). Naturalism and the Buck-Passing Account of Value. Philosophical Writings 32:58-77.
    It has been thought that the prospects for non-naturalism about normativity may be significantly advanced if non-naturalists take the relation of being a reason as the basic normative entity, and so if, inter alia, they endorse a buck-passing account of value. This is thought to yield theoretical benefits regarding (i) the open question argument, (ii) the defence against the charge of queerness, and (iii) demands of parsimony. In the paper I contest these claims. Non- naturalists need not focus on reasons, (...)
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  41. Wlodek Rabinowicz (2009). Incommensurability and Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
    This paper casts doubts on John Broome's view that vagueness in value comparisons crowds out incommensurability in value. It shows how vagueness can be imposed on a formal model of value relations that has room for different types of incommensurability. The model implements some basic insights of the 'fitting attitudes' analysis of value.
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  42. Wlodek Rabinowicz (2008). Value Relations. Theoria 74 (1):18-49.
    Abstract: The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attractive, the way he develops (...)
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  43. Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen (2006). Buck-Passing and the Right Kind of Reasons. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222):114–120.
    The ‘buck-passing’ account equates the value of an object with the existence of reasons to favour it. As we argued in an earlier paper, this analysis faces the ‘wrong kind of reasons’ problem: there may be reasons for pro-attitudes towards worthless objects, in particular if it is the pro-attitudes, rather than their objects, that are valuable. Jonas Olson has recently suggested how to resolve this difficulty: a reason to favour an object is of the right kind only if its formulation (...)
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  44. Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen (2000). A Distinction in Value: Intrinsic and for its Own Sake. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (1):33–51.
    The paper argues that the final value of an object-i.e., its value for its own sake-need not be intrinsic. Extrinsic final value, which accrues to things (or persons) in virtue of their relational rather than internal features, cannot be traced back to the intrinsic value of states that involve these things together with their relations. On the contrary, such states, insofar as they are valuable at all, derive their value from the things involved. The endeavour to reduce thing-values to state-values (...)
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  45. Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Rønnow‐Rasmussen (2004). The Strike of the Demon: On Fitting Pro‐Attitudes and Value. Ethics 114 (3):391-423.
    The paper presents and discusses the so-called Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem (WKR problem) that arises for the fitting-attitudes analysis of value. This format of analysis is exemplified for example by Scanlon's buck-passing account, on which an object's value consists in the existence of reasons to favour the object- to respond to it in a positive way. The WKR problem can be put as follows: It appears that in some situations we might well have reasons to have pro-attitudes toward objects (...)
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  46. Andrew Reisner (forthcoming). Fittingness, Value and Trans-World Attitudes. Philosophical Quarterly.
    Philosophers interested in the fitting attitude analysis of final value have devoted a great deal of attention to the wrong kind of reasons problem. This paper offers an example of the reverse difficulty, the wrong kind of value problem. This problem creates deeper challenges for the fitting attitude analysis and provides independent grounds for rejecting it, or at least for doubting seriously its correctness.
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  47. Andrew Reisner (2009). Abandoning the Buck Passing Analysis of Final Value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):379 - 395.
    In this paper it is argued that the buck-passing analysis (BPA) of final value is not a plausible analysis of value and should be abandoned. While considering the influential wrong kind of reason problem and other more recent technical objections, this paper contends that there are broader reasons for giving up on buck-passing. It is argued that the BPA, even if it can respond to the various technical objections, is not an attractive analysis of final value. It is not attractive (...)
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  48. Richard Rowland (2014). Dissolving the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    According to fitting-attitude (FA) accounts of value, X is of final value if and only if there are reasons for us to have a certain pro-attitude towards it. FA accounts supposedly face the wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem. The WKR problem is the problem of revising FA accounts to exclude so called wrong kind of reasons. And wrong kind of reasons are reasons for us to have certain pro-attitudes towards things that are not of value. I argue that the (...)
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  49. Richard Rowland (2013). Wrong Kind of Reasons and Consequences. Utilitas 25 (3):405-416.
    In a recent issue of Utilitas Gerald Lang provided an appealing new solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason problem for the buck-passing account of value. In subsequent issues Jonas Olson and John Brunero have provided objections to Lang's solution. I argue that Brunero's objection is not a problem for Lang's solution, and that a revised version of Lang's solution avoids Olson's objections. I conclude that we can solve the Wrong Kind of Reason problem, and that the wrong kind of (...)
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  50. Richard Rowland (2011). Why Pass Every Buck? On Skorupski's Buck-Passing Account of Normativity. Ratio 24 (3):340-348.
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