Moorean pluralism as a solution to the incommensurability problem

Philosophical Studies 153 (3):335 – 49 (2011)
Several prominent ethical philosophers have attempted to demonstrate that there exist instances or types of value that are of crucial moral significance but which cannot legitimately be compared with one another. Bernard Williams and Michael Stocker, for example, argue that it can sometimes be rational to regret having chosen the all-things-considered better of two alternatives, and that this sense of regret entails that the goodness of the worse option is not made up for by and is therefore incommensurable with that of the better. Joseph Raz and others have made similar points. In this paper, I propose a theory of value that is monistic in that it countenances just one sort of morally crucial value, but pluralistic in that several distinct properties bearer this value. I then explain how this view avoids incommensurable values without doing violence to the core intuitions that seemed to necessitate them, and how it fits into a larger conception of morality, right conduct, and moral psychology.
Keywords Incommensurability  Value  Pluralism  Kekes  Raz  Stocker  Moore
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9513-4
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