Subjectivism without Desire

Philosophical Review 121 (3):407-442 (2012)
Abstract
Subjectivism about well-being holds that ϕ is intrinsically good for x if and only if, and to the extent that, ϕ is valued, under the proper conditions, by x. Given this statement of the view, there is room for intramural dissent among subjectivists. One important source of dispute is the phrase “under the proper conditions”: Should the proper conditions of valuing be actual or idealized? What sort of idealization is appropriate? And so forth. Though these concerns are of the first importance, this essay focuses on a second source of dispute. As stated, subjectivists must account for what it means for an individual x to value ϕ under any conditions. Though there has been some disagreement, most subjectivists hold that x values ϕ if and only if x desires ϕ. This essay argues that subjectivists have erred in accepting a desiderative theory of valuing. Instead, it argues that subjectivists should hold that x values ϕ to the extent that x judges or believes that ϕ is good for x. The resulting “judgment subjectivism” is intuitively superior to, and maintains important structural advantages over, its desiderative rival
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