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Profile: Ruth Chang (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
  1. Ruth Chang (2013). Grounding Practical Normativity: Going Hybrid. Philosophical Studies 164 (1):163-187.
    In virtue of what is something a reason for action? That is, what makes a consideration a reason to act? This is a metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action. The answer to the grounding question has been traditionally given in ‘pure’, univocal terms. This paper argues that there is good reason to understand the ground of practical normativity as a hybrid of traditional ‘pure’ views. The paper 1) surveys the three leading ‘pure’ answers to the (...)
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  2.  74
    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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  3. 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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  4. Ruth Chang (2009). Voluntarist Reasons and the Sources of Normativity. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press 243-71.
    This paper investigates two puzzles in practical reason and proposes a solution to them. First, sometimes, when we are practically certain that neither of two alternatives is better than or as good as the other with respect to what matters in the choice between them, it nevertheless seems perfectly rational to continue to deliberate, and sometimes the result of that deliberation is a conclusion that one alternative is better, where there is no error in one’s previous judgment. Second, there are (...)
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  5.  58
    Ruth Chang (2016). Parity, Imprecise Comparability, and the Repugnant Conclusion. Theoria 82 (2):183-215.
    This article explores the main similarities and differences between Derek Parfit’s notion of imprecise comparability and a related notion I have proposed of parity. I argue that the main difference between imprecise comparability and parity can be understood by reference to ‘the standard view’. The standard view claims that 1) differences between cardinally ranked items can always be measured by a scale of units of the relevant value, and 2) all rankings proceed in terms of the trichotomy of ‘better than’, (...)
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  6.  59
    Ruth Chang (2015). Transformative Choices. Res Philosophica 92 (2):237-282.
    This paper proposes a way to understand transformative choices, choices that change ‘who you are.’ First, it distinguishes two broad models of transformative choice: 1) ‘event-based’ transformative choices in which some event—perhaps an experience—downstream from a choice transforms you, and 2) ‘choice-based’ transformative choices in which the choice itself—and not something downstream from the choice—transforms you. Transformative choices are of interest primarily because they purport to pose a challenge to standard approaches to rational choice. An examination of the event-based transformative (...)
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  7. 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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  8.  31
    Ruth Chang (2015). Value Incomparability and Incommensurability. In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press
    This introductory article describes the phenomena of incommensurability and incomparability, how they are related, and why they are important. Since incomparability is the more significant phenomenon, the paper takes that as its focus. It gives a detailed account of what incomparability is, investigates the relation between the incomparability of values and the incomparability of alternatives for choice, distinguishes incomparability from the related phenomena of parity, indeterminacy, and noncomparability, and, finally, defends a view about practical justification that vindicates the importance of (...)
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  9. 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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  10.  39
    Ruth Chang (2016). “Comparativism: The Ground of Rational Choice,” in Errol Lord and Barry McGuire, Eds., Weighing Reasons , 2016. In B. Maguire & E. Lord (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oxford 213-240.
    What, normatively speaking, are the grounds of rational choice? This paper defends ‘comparativism’, the view that a comparative fact grounds rational choice. It examines three of the most serious challenges to comparativism: 1) that sometimes what grounds rational choice is an exclusionary-type relation among alternatives; 2) that an absolute fact such as that it’s your duty or conforms to the Categorial Imperative grounds rational choice; and 3) that rational choice between incomparables is possible, and in particular, all that is needed (...)
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  11. Ruth Chang (2013). Commitment, Reasons, and the Will. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 8. Oxford University Press 74-113.
    This paper argues that there is a particular kind of ‘internal’ commitment typically made in the context of romantic love relationships that has striking meta-normative implications for how we understand the role of the will in practical normativity. Internal commitments cannot plausibly explain the reasons we have in committed relationships on the usual model – as triggering reasons that are already there, in the way that making a promise triggers a reason via a pre-existing norm of the form ‘If you (...)
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  12.  56
    Ruth Chang (2001). 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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  13. Ruth Chang (2013). Incommensurability (and Incomparability). In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell 2591-2604.
    This encyclopedia entry urges what it takes to be correctives to common (mis)understandings concerning the phenomenon of incommensurability and incomparability and briefly outlines some of their philosophical upshots.
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  14.  28
    Ruth Chang (2004). Can Desires Provide Reasons for Action? In R. Jay Wallace, Philip Pettit, Samuel Scheffler & Michael Smith (eds.), Reason and Value: Themes From the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz. Oxford University Press 56--90.
    What sorts of consideration can be normative reasons for action? If we systematize the wide variety of considerations that can be cited as normative reasons, do we find that there is a single kind of consideration that can always be a reason? Desire-based theorists think that the fact that you want something or would want it under certain evaluatively neutral conditions can always be your normative reason for action. Value-based theorists, by contrast, think that what plays that role are evaluative (...)
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  15. Ruth Chang (1997). Introduction. In Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press 1-34.
    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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  16. Ruth Chang (2015). Value Pluralism. In James Wright (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol. 25. Elsevier 21-26.
    ‘Value pluralism’ as traditionally understood is the metaphysical thesis that there are many values that cannot be ‘reduced’ to a single supervalue. While it is widely assumed that value pluralism is true, the case for value pluralism depends on resolution of a neglected question in value theory: how are values properly individuated? Value pluralism has been thought to be important in two main ways. If values are plural, any theory that relies on value monism, for example, hedonistic utilitarianism, is mistaken. (...)
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  17. 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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  18. Ruth Chang (2003). Introduction.
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  19. Ruth Chang (2014). Practical Reasons: The Problem of Gridlock. In Barry Dainton & Howard Robinson (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Continuum Publishing Corporation 474-499.
    The paper has two aims. The first is to propose a general framework for organizing some central questions about normative practical reasons in a way that separates importantly distinct issues that are often run together. Setting out this framework provides a snapshot of the leading types of view about practical reasons as well as a deeper understanding of what are widely regarded to be some of their most serious difficulties. The second is to use the proposed framework to uncover and (...)
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  20. 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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  21. Ruth Chang (2001). Review: Two Conceptions of Reasons for Action. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (2):447 - 453.
    On a ‘comparative’ conception of practical reasons, reasons are like ‘weights’ that can make an action more or less rational. Bernard Gert adopts instead a ‘toggle’ conception of practical reasons: something counts as a reason just in case it alone can make some or other otherwise irrational action rational. I suggest that Gert’s conception suffers from various defects, and that his motivation for adopting this conception – his central claim that actions can be rational without there being reasons for them (...)
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  22. Ruth Chang, Allen Buchanan, Mathias Risse, Scott A. Anderson & Thaddeus Metz (2002). 10. Nenad Miscevic, Ed., Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives Nenad Miscevic, Ed., Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives (Pp. 843-846). [REVIEW] Ethics 112 (4).
     
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  23. Sarah Buss, Angela M. Smith, Sophia R. Moreau, Maria Merritt, Ruth Chang & Cass R. Sunstein (2005). 10. Chandran Kukathas, The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom Chandran Kukathas, The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom (Pp. 422-427). [REVIEW] Ethics 115 (2).
     
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  24. Ruth Chang (2009). Reflections on the Reasonable and the Rational in Conflict Resolution. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):133 - 160.
    Most familiar approaches to social conflict moot reasonable ways of dealing with conflict, ways that aim to serve values such as legitimacy, justice, morality, fairness, fidelity to individual preferences, and so on. In this paper, I explore an alternative approach to social conflict that contrasts with the leading approaches of Rawlsians, perfectionists, and social choice theorists. The proposed approach takes intrinsic features of the conflict—what I call a conflict's evaluative 'structure'—as grounds for a rational way of responding to that conflict. (...)
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  25.  19
    Ruth Chang (2004). Putting Together Morality and Well-Being. In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge 118--158.
    Conflicts between morality and prudence are often thought to pose a special problem because the normativity of moral considerations derives from a distinctively moral point of view, while the normativity of prudential considerations derives from a distinctively prudential point of view, and there is no way to ‘put together’ the two points of view. I argue that talk of points of view is a red herring, and that for any ‘prumoral’ conflict there is some or other more comprehensive value – (...)
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  26.  4
    Ruth Chang (2009). II—Ruth Chang: Reflections on the Reasonable and the Rational in Conflict Resolution. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):133-160.
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  27.  9
    Ruth Chang (2013). Raz on Reasons, Reason, and Rationality: On Raz's From Normativity to Responsibility. Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies:1-21.
    This is a synoptic and critical commentary on Joseph Raz’s From Normativity to Responsibility.
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  28.  12
    Justin D’Arms, Jovan Babic, Eric Cavallero, Ruth Chang, Kai Draper, A. E. Fuchs, Ann Garry, Ishtiyaque Haji, George W. Harris & Richard G. Hensen (2004). Manuscript Referees for The Journal of Ethics Volume 8: September 2003–August 2004. Journal of Ethics 8 (473):473-473.
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  29.  5
    Ruth Chang (2001). Against Constitutive Incommensurability or Buying and Selling Friends. Philosophical Issues 11 (1):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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  30. Ruth Chang (ed.) (1997). Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press.
  31. Ruth Chang, Preventing the Existence of People with Disabilities.
    It is commonly held that there are both cases in which there is a strong moral reason not to cause the existence of a disabled person and cases in which, although it would be permissible to cause a disabled person to exist, it would be better not to. Yet many disabled people are affronted by the idea that it is sometimes better to prevent people like themselves from existing, precisely because these people would be disabled. One of their grounds for (...)
     
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  32.  1
    Ruth Chang (2009). II—R Eflections on the R Easonable and the R Ational in C Onflict R Esolution. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):133-160.
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  33. Ruth Chang (1998). Comparison and the Justification of Choice. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 146:1569-98.
    This paper takes some steps toward defending the idea that justified choice always depends on the comparability of the alternatives. If the arguments are right, there can be no justified choice among incomparable alternatives.
     
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  34. Ruth Chang (2014). Making Comparisons Count. Routledge.
    This book attempts 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.
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  35. Ruth Chang (2015). Making Comparisons Count. Routledge.
    This book attempts 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.
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