Goodness, values, reasons

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):329 - 343 (2009)
Abstract
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 of analysis for conceptualizing evaluative properties. Instead, a better alternative can be found in a metaphysical version of the Geachean view that goodness is always attributive and never predicative, namely that goodness is always a matter of relative placement in certain kinds of comparison classes. It is then suggested that the good and the valuable need to be separated from each other and that the latter is a species of the former
Keywords Goodness  Value  Analysis  Buck-passing  Attributive
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