Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Philosophers use a number of terms to refer to such value. The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsicvalue is value that is not intrinsic.
Moral philosophers who differ from one another on a wide range of questions tend to agree on at least one general point. Most believe that things are worth valuing either because of their relationship to something else worth valuing, or because they are simply (in themselves) worth valuing. I value my car, because I value getting to work; I value getting to work, because I value making money and spending time productively; and I value those (...) things because I value leading a fulﬁlling life—and that valuing needs no justiﬁcation. The values that need to be justiﬁed by other values are extrinsic; those that do not are intrinsic. Most traditional philosophical approaches to value justiﬁcation are foundational in this sense: intrinsic values provide a foundation upon which other values can be justiﬁed. (shrink)
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 is largely motivated by a mistaken belief that appropriate responses to value must consist in preferring and/or promoting. A pluralist approach to value analysis obviates the need for reduction: the final value of a thing or person can be given an independent interpretation in terms of the appropriate thing- or person-oriented responses: admiration, love, respect, protection, care, cherishing, etc. (shrink)
In this article I defend innocuousism– a weak form of Epicureanism about the putative badness of death. I argue that if we assume both mental statism about wellbeing and that death is an experiential blank, it follows that death is not bad for the one who dies. I defend innocuousism against the deprivation account of the badness of death. I argue that something is extrinsically bad if and only if it leads to states that are intrinsically bad. On my view, (...) sometimes dying may be less good than living, but it is never bad to die. (shrink)
The aim of this research was to investigate the attitudes of Israeli Arab (n = 259) and Jewish (n = 259) high school students toward extrinsic and intrinsic values. A questionnaire, which consisted of eight value scales in two groups?extrinsic and intrinsic values?was administered. Participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with 31 statements on a five-point Likert scale. Jewish students who experience school-based values education endorsed more intrinsic values (e.g. autonomy: Jews M = (...) 4.27, SD = .53; Arabs M = 3.92, SD = .83), whereas Arab students, whose education as a minority group focuses on education towards achievement, endorsed more extrinsic values (e.g. attractiveness: Jews M = 3.56, SD = .82; Arabs M = 3.96, SD = .84). The findings suggest that the use of a more refined and complex analysis of extrinsic?intrinsic scales yields multiple interpretations of moral education in a modern world. This research may contribute to the discussion on moral education for minority groups, especially where they are a distinct minority in a society where they are surrounded by different cultural values. The growing cultural diversity in the Western world requires that through moral and civic education, schools explicitly expose their students, and especially minority groups, to the diverse interpretations of values and to the need to both respect differing interpretations, on the one hand, and to challenge them, on the other. (shrink)
This essay begins with a consideration of one way in which animals and persons may be valued as “irreplaceable.” Drawing on both Plato and Pascal, I consider reasons for skepticism regarding the legitimacy of this sort of attachment. While I do not offer a complete defense against such skepticism, I do show that worries here may be overblown due to the conflation of distinct metaphysical and normative concerns. I then go on to clarify what sort of value is at (...) issue in cases of irreplaceable attachment. I characterize “unique value” as the kind of value attributed to a thing when we take that thing to be (theoretically, not just practically) irreplaceable. I then consider the relationship between this sort of value and intrinsic value. After considering the positions of Gowans, Moore, Korsgaard, Frankfurt, and others, I conclude that unique value is best understood not as a variety of intrinsic value but rather as one kind of final value that is grounded in the extrinsic properties of the object. (shrink)
In this article, I critique a common claim that instrumental value is a form of extrinsicvalue. Instead, I offer an alternative dispositional analysis of instrumental value, which holds that instrumental value can, in certain circumstances, be an example of intrinsic value. It follows, then, that a popular account of the nature of final value – or value as an end – is false: the Moorean identification of final value with intrinsic (...)value cannot properly distinguish between value as an end and value as a means. (shrink)
Recent critics (Andrew Light, Bryan Norton, Anthony Weston, and Bruce Morito, among others) have argued that we should give up talk of intrinsic value in general and that of nature in particular. While earlier theorists might have overestimated the importance of intrinsic value, these recent critics underestimate its importance. Claims about a thing’s intrinsic value are claims about the distinctive way in which we have reason to care about that thing. If we understand intrinsic value in (...) this manner, we can capture the core claims that environmentalists want to make about nature while avoiding the worries raised by contemporary critics. Since the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsicvalue plays a critical role in our understanding of the different ways that we do and should care about things, moral psychology, ethical theory in general, and environmental ethics in particular shouldn’t give up on the concept of intrinsic value. (shrink)
Contrary to the received view, decision theory is not primarily devoted to instrumental (ends-to-means) reasoning. Instead, its major preoccupation is the derivation of ends from other ends. Given preferences over basic alternatives, it constructs preferences over alternatives that have been modified through the addition of value object modifiers (modes) that specify probability, uncertainty, distance in time etc. A typology of the decision-theoretical modes is offered. The modes do not have (even extrinsic) value, but they transform the (...) class='Hi'>value of objects to which they are applied. A rational agent's total set of preferences should be coherent, but from this it does not follow that her preferences over mode-containing objects have to be derivable from her preferences over mode-free objects. (shrink)
We do not yet have a sound ontology for intrinsic value. Albert Borgmann’s work on information technology and Daniel Dennett’s thoughts on evolutionary theory can provide the basis for an account of intrinsic value in terms of what it is, how it comes into existence, where it is found, and whether it can be quantified or compared. Borgmann’s information and realization relations are cornerstones forunderstanding value. According to Borgmann, things are valuable when they are meaningful and things (...) become meaningful as information and realizations. It is in these relations that intrinsic and extrinsic values find their common roots. Dennett’s musing on the relationship between DNA instructions, DNA readers, and phenotypes invites a commingling of information technology and evolutionary theory. His notion of design space provides a basis for the claim the biotic community has on intrinsic and extrinsic values. (shrink)
It’s now commonplace — since Korsgaard (1996) — in ethical theory to distinguish between two distinctions: on the one hand, the distinction between value an object has in virtue of its intrinsic properties vs. the value it has in virtue of all its properties, intrinsic or extrinsic; and on the other hand, the distinction between the value has an object as an end, vs. the value it has as a means to something else. I’ll call (...) the former distinction the distinction between intrinsic and nonintrinsic value; the latter is between value as-an-end and instrumental value. (shrink)
Accoding to G.E. Moore, something''s intrinsic valuedepends solely on its intrinsic nature. Recently Thomas Hurka andShelly Kagan have argued, contra Moore, that something''s intrinsic valuemay depend on its extrinsic properties. Call this view the ConditionalView of intrinsic value. In this paper I demonstrate how a Mooreancan account for purported counterexamples given by Hurka and Kagan. I thenargue that certain organic unities pose difficulties for the ConditionalView.
In the Republic, Socrates argues that morality (justice) is valuable both for itself and for what comes from it. In contemporary moral theory, this view is not widely accepted. However, contemporary empirical research in psychology reveals that what we experience is also what we come to expect. It follows from this that if we act in an immoral fashion, we will expect the same from others. The more often we act immorally, the more suspicion will be ingrained within us. Suspicion (...) quickly pervades our minds, corrodes our relationships, and increases our levels of stress, thereby dramatically decreasing our quality of life. Moral action, on the other hand, has the ability to strengthen our faith in others and create strong human relationships. Therefore,morality should be classified as having the highest type of value, just as Socrates contends.Moral behavior allows for healthy relations between persons (intrinsic value) and the wellbeing of the individual (extrinsicvalue). (shrink)
The privilege of having three sets of extensive and hard-hitting comments on one's work is as welcome as it is rare, and especially so on this occasion as the lectures were, for me, but thefirst (well, not entirely first) stab at a subject I hope to explore at greater length. The reflectionsthat follow will respond to some of the criticisms, but will not be a point by point reply. I will use the occasion to clarify some obscurities in the lectures, (...) and to contrast my view with some of my critics' own positions. I will proceed thematically, starting with some observations about method and about ontology, proceeding to explore several questions about the relations between social dependence and relativism, between genre, value, and normativity, and concluding with a fewwords on pluralism and liberal values. (shrink)
I analyse the concept of sentimental value, with a view to identifying its relations with the notions of intrinsic, final, extrinsic and instrumental value. The analysis explores issues arising in the understanding of an object as sentimentally valuable, and reveals a serious tension in the common sense extrinsic conception of sentimental value.
G.E. Moore’s principle of organic unity holds that the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of the intrinsic values of its parts. Moore combined this principle with invariabilism about intrinsic value: An item’s intrinsic value depends solely on its bearer’s intrinsic properties, not on which wholes it has membership of. It is often said that invariabilism ought to be rejected in favour of what might be called ‘conditionalism’ about intrinsic value. This paper (...) is an attempt to show how invariabilism might be ﬁlled out in ways that allow its proponents to answer their conditionalist opponents. The main point consists in identifying how some amount of extrinsic part-value may contribute to whole-value that is nevertheless intrinsic. This enables an invariabilist to explain how the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of its intrinsic part-values, without abandoning the Moorean doctrine that intrinsic value supervenes on intrinsic properties (the proposal is nevertheless consistent with the view that invariabilist and conditionalist accounts might exist side by side). I ﬁnish with a brief explanation of how the main proposal could help construct invariabilist accounts of particular organic unities, looking beyond the more general argument they have with conditionalists. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an argument for the thesis that ‘maximality is extrinsic’, on which a whole physical object is not a whole of its kind in virtue of its intrinsic properties. Theodore Sider has a number of arguments that depend on his own simple argument that maximality is extrinsic. However, Peter van Inwagen has an argument in defence of his Duplication Principle that, I will argue, can be extended to show that Sider's simple argument fails. However, (...) van Inwagen's argument fails against a more complex, sophisticated argument that maximality is extrinsic. I use van Inwagen's own commitments to various forms of causation and metaphysical possibility to argue that maximality is indeed extrinsic, although not for the mundane reasons that Sider suggests. I then argue that moral properties are extrinsic properties. Two physically identical things can have different moral properties in a physical world. This argument is a counterexample to a classical ethical supervenience idea (often attributed to G.E. Moore) that if there is identity of physical properties in a physical world, then there is identity in moral properties as well. I argue moral value is ‘border sensitive’ and extrinsic for Kantians, utilitarians, and Aristotelians. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that all value is rooted in the interests of valuing beings. If something satisfies an interest of a valuing entity by contributing to its well-being in some way, then it has value. Anything that fails to satisfy any interests is entirely lacking in value. I defend this conception of value by showing that the usual arguments directed against this kind of view are lacking of force, and by considering various other theories (...) of value and showing that they suffer from serious problems. Finally, I clarify some important distinctions between intrinsic, extrinsic, inherent, and instrumental value. (shrink)
The theory and practice of constitutionalism is tightly interwoven with references and appeals to values. However, these references and appeals frequently remain undertheorized and are seldom connected directly to philosophical theories of value. This chapter outlines some ways in which such connections might be established.
Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.
The main claim of this essay is that knowledge is no more valuable than lasting true belief. This claim is surprising. Doesn't knowledge have a unique and special value? If the main claim is correct and if, as it seems, knowledge is not lasting true belief, then knowledge does not have a unique value: in whatever way knowledge is valuable, lasting true belief is just as valuable. However, this result does not show that knowledge is worthless, nor does it undermine our knowledge gathering (...) practices. There is, rather, a positive philosophical payoff: skepticism about knowledge is defused. Assuming one can have lasting true belief, then even if one cannot have knowledge, one can have something just as valuable. . (shrink)
This paper is a reply to Michael Lynch's "Truth, Value and Epistemic Expressivism" in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research for 2009. It argues that Lynch's argument against expressivism fails because of an ambiguity in the employed notion of an 'epistemically disengaged standpoint'.
In this paper, I examine how philosophers before and after G. E. Moore understood intrinsic value. The main idea I wish to bring out and defend is that Moore was insufficiently attentive to how distinctive his conception of intrinsic value was, as compared with those of the writers he discussed, and that such inattentiveness skewed his understanding of the positions of others that he discussed and dismissed. My way into this issue is by examining the charge of inconsistency (...) that Moore levels at the qualitative hedonism outlined by J. S. Mill in Utilitarianism. Along the way I suggest that there are a number of ways in which Moore was unfair in rejecting qualitative hedonism as inconsistent. I close by relating the issues that arise in discussion of Moore to contemporary debates on value and reasons. (shrink)
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 that are not valuable. Or vice versa: we might have reasons not to have pro-attitudes toward some valuable objects. The paper goes through several attempts to solve (or dissolve) the WKR problem and argues that none of them is fully satisfactory. (shrink)
Much seems to be at stake in metaphysical questions about, for example, God, free will or morality. One thing that could be at stake is the value of the universe we inhabit—how good or bad it is. We can think of competing philosophical positions as describing possibilities, ways the world might turn out to be, and to which value can be assigned. When, for example, people hope that God exists, or fear that we do not possess free will, (...) they express attitudes towards these possibilities, attitudes that presuppose answers to questions about their comparative value. My aim in this paper is to distinguish these evaluative questions from related questions with which they can be confused, to identify structural constraints on their proper pursuit, and to address objections to their very coherence. Answers to such evaluative questions offer one measure of the importance of philosophical disputes. (shrink)
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 proof is given in the appendix). I also suggest that there are three senses of ‘rationally permissible’ which, once distinguished, show that parity does distinctive practical work that cannot be done by the usual trichotomy of relations or by incomparability. In this way, we have an additional argument for parity from the workings of practical reason. (shrink)
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 it is flawed: His modeling of values by intervals of permissible preference strengths is inadequate. Instead, I provide an alternative modeling in terms of intersections of rationally permissible preference orderings. This yields a general taxonomy of all binary value relations. The paper concludes with some implications of this approach for rational choice. (shrink)
Abstract: We challenge a line of thinking at the fore of recent work on epistemic value: the line (suggested by Kvanvig  and others) that if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value of mere true belief, then we have good reason to doubt its theoretical importance in epistemology. We offer a value-driven argument for the theoretical importance of knowledge—one that stands even if the value of knowledge is “swamped” by the value (...) of true belief. Specifically, we contend that even if knowledge itself has no special epistemic value, its relationship to other items of value—cognitive abilities—gives ample reason to locate the concept at the very core of epistemology. (shrink)
It is often suggested that aesthetic and ethical value judgements are similar in such a way that they should be analysed in analogous manners. In this paper, I argue that the two types of judgements share four important features concerning disagreement, motivation, categoricity, and argumentation. This, I maintain, helps to explain why many philosophers have thought that aesthetic and ethical value judgements can be analysed in accordance with the same dispositional scheme which corresponds to the analogy between secondary (...) qualities and values. However, I argue that aesthetic and ethical value judgements differ as regards their fundamental structures. This scheme is mistaken as regards ethical value judgements, but it is able to account for aesthetic value judgements. This implies that aesthetic value judgements are autonomous in relation to ethical value judements and that aestheticians, not moral philosophers, are the true heirs of this renowned analogy. (shrink)
The topic of personal identity has prompted some of the liveliest and most interesting debates in recent philosophy. In a fascinating new contribution to the discussion, Peter Unger presents a psychologically aimed, but physically based, account of our identity over time. While supporting the account, he explains why many influential contemporary philosophers have underrated the importance of physical continuity to our survival, casting a new light on the work of Lewis, Nagel, Nozick, Parfit, Perry, Shoemaker, and others. Deriving from his (...) discussion of our identity itself, Unger produces a novel but commonsensical theory of the relations between identity and some of our deepest concerns. In a conservative but flexible spirit, he explores the implications of his theory for questions of value and of the good life. (shrink)
Proponents of the argument from regress maintain that the existence of Instrumental Value is sufficient to establish the existence of Intrinsic Value. It is argued that the chain of instrumentally valuable things has to end somewhere. Namely with intrinsic value. In this paper, I shall argue something a little more modest than this. I do not want to argue that the regress argument proves that there is intrinsic value but rather that it proves that the idea (...) of intrinsic value is a necessary part of our thinking about moral value. (shrink)
My central thesis is that philosophers considering questions of epistemic value ought to devote greater attention to the enduring nature of beliefs. I begin by arguing that a commonly drawn analogy between beliefs and actions is flawed in important respects, and that a better, more fruitful analogue for belief would be desire, or a similarly enduring state of an agent. With this in hand, I argue that treating beliefs as enduring, constitutive states of agents allows us to capture the (...) importance of accessible, justified, and true beliefs to sustaining personal identity, autonomy, self-control, and authenticity. We thus arrive at a significant value to such beliefs through their crucial role in our personal, practical identities. (shrink)
The traditional approach to the abortion debate revolves around numerous issues, such as whether the fetus is a person, whether the fetus has rights, and more. Don Marquis suggests that this traditional approach leads to a standoff and that the abortion debate “requires a different strategy.” Hence his “future of value” strategy, which is summarized as follows: (1) A normal fetus has a future of value. (2) Depriving a normal fetus of a future of value imposes a (...) misfortune on it. (3) Imposing a misfortune on a normal fetus is prima facie wrong. (4) Therefore, depriving a normal fetus of a future of value is prima facie wrong. (5) Killing a normal fetus deprives it of a future of value. (6) Therefore, killing a normal fetus is prima facie wrong. In this paper, I argue that Marquis’s strategy is not different since it involves the concept of person—a concept deeply rooted in the traditional approach. Specifically, I argue that futures are valuable insofar as they are not only dominated by goods of consciousness, but are experienced by psychologically continuous persons. Moreover, I argue that his strategy is not sound since premise (1) is false. Specifically, I argue that a normal fetus, at least during the first trimester, is not a person. Thus, during that stage of development it is not capable of experiencing its future as a psychologically continuous person and, hence, it does not have a future of value. (shrink)
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, and so need not, as non-naturalists, endorse a buck-passing account of value. They can choose to hold evaluative notions to be the basic ones, or to have a (reasoned) plurality of basic normative concepts and properties. The debate with the naturalist in those three respects is not going to be significantly influenced by such preliminary conceptual decisions. (shrink)
Most commentators agree that Leibniz advocates some version of a doctrine of the ideality or reducibility of relations, but there is considerable disagreement about what exactly this doctrine means. I argue that Leibniz’s views on relations are more complex than has been previously appreciated, and that, despite some ‘reductionist’ strands in Leibniz’s position, it is seriously misleading to describe him as a reductionist about relations without adding some important qualifications. The complexity of Leibniz’s views on relations tends to be obscured (...) by the common assumption that they can be captured in one unified thesis, or a small number of closely related theses, and by the widespread neglect to take Leibniz’s division of reality into several ontological levels into consideration. I disentangle ten Leibnizian theses about relations, extrinsic denominations, and their relation to intrinsic denominations. Some of these theses express a kind of dependence of extrinsic denominations on intrinsic ones, and some of them can even be counted as articulations of a form of reductionism. But, overall, the general tenor of Leibniz’s position on extrinsic denominations remains non-reductionist. (shrink)
This paper gives a new interpretation of the central section of Plato’s Symposium (199d–212a). According to this interpretation, the term ‘καλόν’, as used by Plato here, stands for what many contemporary philosophers call “intrinsic value”; and “love” (ἔρως) is in effect rational motivation, which for Plato consists in the desire to “possess” intrinsically valuable things – that is, according to Plato, to be happy – for as long as possible. An explanation is given of why Plato believes that “possessing” (...) intrinsically valuable things, at least for mortals like us, consists in actively creating instantiations of the intrinsic values, both in oneself and in the external world, and in knowing and loving these intrinsic values and their instantiations. Finally, it is argued that this interpretation reveals that Plato’s “eudaemonism” is a different and more defensible doctrine than many commentators believe. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: We argue that the so-called ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Value Problems for knowledge are more easily solved than is widely appreciated. Pritchard, for instance, has suggested that only virtue-theoretic accounts have any hopes of adequately addressing these problems. By contrast, we argue that accounts of knowledge that are sensitive to the Gettier problem are able to overcome these challenges. To first approximation, the Primary Value Problem is a problem of understanding how the property of being knowledge confers more (...) epistemic value on a belief than the property of being true. The Secondary Value is a problem of understanding how, for instance, property of being knowledge confers more epistemic value on a belief than the property of being jointly true and justified. We argue that attending to the fact that beliefs are ongoing states reveals that there is no difficulty in appreciating how knowledge might ordinarily have more epistemic value than mere true belief or mere justified true belief. We also explore in what ways ordinary cases of knowledge might be of distinctive epistemic value. In the end, our proposal resembles the original Platonic suggestion in the Meno that knowledge is valuable because knowledge is somehow tied to the good of truth. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard (2008, 2009, 2010, forthcoming) has argued for an elegant solution to what have been called the value problems for knowledge at the forefront of recent literature on epistemic value. As Pritchard sees it, these problems dissolve once it is recognized that that it is understanding-why, not knowledge, that bears the distinctive epistemic value often (mistakenly) attributed to knowledge. A key element of Pritchard’s revisionist argument is the claim that understanding-why always involves what he calls strong (...) cognitive achievement—viz., cognitive achievement that consists always in either (i) the overcoming of a significant obstacle or (ii) the exercise of a significant level of cognitive ability. After outlining Pritchard’s argument, we show (contra Pritchard) that understanding-why does not essentially involve strong cognitive achievement. Interestingly, in the cases in which understanding-why is distinctively valuable, it is (we argue) only because there is sufficiently rich objectual understanding in the background. If that’s right, then a plausible revisionist solution to the value problems must be sensitive to different kinds of understanding and what makes them valuable, respectively. (shrink)
‘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. The plurality of values is also thought to raise problems for rational choice. If two irreducibly distinct values conflict, it seems that there is no common ground that justifies choosing one over the other. The metaphysical plurality of values does not, however, have the implications for rational choice that many have supposed. A charitable interpretation of value pluralist writings suggests a ‘nonreductive’ form of value pluralism. Nonreductive value pluralism maintains that in the context of practical choice, there are differences between values—whether or not those values reduce to a single supervalue—that have important implications for rational choice. This article examines the main arguments for metaphysical value pluralism, argues that metaphysical value pluralism does not have certain implications that it is widely thought to have, and outlines three forms of nonreductive value pluralism. -/- . (shrink)
Two competing accounts of value incomparability have been put forward in the recent literature. According to the standard account, developed most famously by Joseph Raz, ‘incomparability’ means determinate failure of the three classic value relations ( better than , worse than , and equally good ): two value-bearers are incomparable with respect to a value V if and only if (i) it is false that x is better than y with respect to V , (ii) it (...) is false that x is worse than y with respect to V and (iii) it is false that x and y are equally good with respect to V . Most philosophers have followed Raz in adopting this account of incomparability. Recently, however, John Broome has advocated an alternative view, on which value incomparability is explained in terms of vagueness or indeterminacy . In this paper I aim to further Broome’s view in two ways. Firstly, I want to supply independent reasons for thinking that the phenomenon of value incomparability is indeed a matter of the indeterminacy inherent in our comparative predicates. Secondly, I attempt to defend Broome’s account by warding off several objections that worry him, due mainly to Erik Carlson and Ruth Chang. (shrink)
The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-value gaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language is (...) possible. (shrink)
Knowledge seems to be a good thing, or at least better than epistemic states that fall short of it, such as true belief. Understanding too seems to be a good thing, perhaps better even than knowledge. In a number of recent publications, Duncan Pritchard tries to account for the value of understanding by claiming that understanding is a cognitive achievement and that achievements in general are valuable. In this paper, I argue that coming to understand something need not be (...) an achievement, and so Pritchard's explanation of understanding's value fails. Next, I point out that Pritchard's is just one of many attempts to account for the value of an epistemic state – whether it be understanding, knowledge, or whatever – by appeal to the notion of achievement or, more generally, the notion of success because of ability. Tentatively, I offer reasons to be sceptical about the prospects of any such account. (shrink)
This book aims to develop a philosophical theory of extrinsic properties – of properties whose instantiation by an object does not only depend on what the object itself is like, but also on features of its environment. Various accounts of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction are analysed in detail, and it is argued that the most promising approach to defining this distinction is to consider extrinsic properties as a particular type of relational property. Moreover, it is shown that two (...) key notions in the metaphysics of properties, the supervenience relation and the dispositional/categorical distinction, whose scope is usually restricted to intrinsic properties, can fruitfully be applied to extrinsic properties as well. (shrink)
Nietzsche associates values with affects and drives: he not only claims that values are explained by drives and affects, but sometimes appears to identify values with drives and affects. This is decidedly odd: the agent's reflectively endorsed ends, principles, commitments--what we would think of as the agent's values--seem not only distinct from, but often in conflict with, the agent's drives. Consequently, it is unclear how we should understand Nietzsche's concept of value. This essay attempts to dispel these puzzles by (...) reconstructing Nietzsche's account of value. According to the view that I defend, an agent values X iff (i) the agent has a drive-induced affective orientation toward X and (ii) the agent does not disapprove of this affective orientation. Additionally, I argue that drives generate thoughts about justification, thereby inclining the agent to regard pursuit of the drive's aim as valuable. I contend that this interpretation makes sense of Nietzsche’s remarks about value and overcomes the difficulties inherent in competing interpretations. I conclude by investigating the recalcitrance of drive-induced affective orientations. (shrink)
The paper analyses economic evaluations by distinguishing evaluative statements from actual value judgments. From this basis, it compares four solutions to the value neutrality problem in economics. After rebutting the strong theses about neutrality (normative economics is illegitimate) and non-neutrality (the social sciences are value-impregnated), the paper settles the case between the weak neutrality thesis (common in welfare economics) and a novel, weak non-neutrality thesis that extends the realm of normative economics more widely than the other weak (...) thesis does. (shrink)
According to a widely accepted reading of the "Ethics," Spinoza subscribes to a desire-satisfaction theory of value. A desire-satisfaction theory says that what has value is the satisfaction of one’s desires and whatever leads to the satisfaction of one’s desires. In this paper I argue that this standard reading is incorrect, and I show that in Spinoza’s view the foundation of what is truly valuable is the perfection of a person’s essence, not the satisfaction of a person’s desires.
Many people are strongly opposed to the intentional destruction of human embryos, whether it be for purposes scientific, reproductive, or other. And it is not uncommon for such people to argue against the destruction of human embryos by invoking the claim that the destruction of human embryos is morally on par with killing the following humans: (A) the standard infant, (B) the suicidal teenager, (C) the temporarily comatose individual, and (D) the standard adult. I argue here that this claim is (...) false and do so as follows. First, I provide an account of the prima facie wrongness of killing individuals (A) – (D). Briefly, I contend that individuals (A) – (D) have a certain property in common, that of having a future of value. An individual who has a future of value has the potential to (i) value goods of consciousness when he will (or would) experience them and (ii) do so as a psychologically continuous individual. And depriving an individual of a future of value is prima facie wrong. Killing an individual deprives him of a future of value. Thus, killing an individual who has a future of value is prima facie wrong. Since individuals (A) – (D) have futures of value, killing them is prima facie wrong. -/- Second, I argue that, given this account of the prima facie wrongness of killing individuals (A) – (D), the destruction of individual (E), the standard embryo, is not morally on par with killing individuals (A) – (D). For, unlike individuals (A) – (D), the standard embryo does not have a future of value. Specifically, I argue that having a future of value involves having the second-order potential for psychological continuity, a potential that individuals (A) – (D) have but that individual (E) does not. For possessing the second-order potential for psychological continuity requires the possession of psychological states, something individuals (A) – (D) have but that individual (E) lacks. Hence, individual (E) does not share with individuals (A) – (D) the property of having a future of value and, in turn, is not deprived of one when it is killed. Thus, given my proposed account of the prima facie wrongness of killing individuals (A) – (D), killing individual (E) is not morally on par with killing individuals (A) – (D). (shrink)
The position of some environmental ethicists that some non-humans have intrinsic value as a mind-independent property is seriously flawed. This is because human beings lack any evidence for this position and hence are unjustified in holding it. For any possible world that is alleged to have this kind of intrinsic value, it is possible to conceive an observationally identical world that lacks intrinsic value. Hence, one is not justified in inferring the intrinsic value of some non-human (...) from any set of observable properties, since that same set of properties could just as well exist in a world that lacks intrinsic value. However, since human beings do not have a faculty of intuition that would allow them to .. (shrink)
This essay introduces and defends a new analysis of the concept of prudential value. According to this analysis, what it is for something to be good for you is for that thing to contribute to the appeal (that is, the intrinsic appealworthiness) of being in your position. After explaining this proposal, I argue that it fits well with our ways of talking about prudential value and well-being; enables promising analyses of the related concepts of luck, selfishness, self-sacrifice, and (...) paternalism; preserves the relationship between prudential value and the attitudes of concern, love, pity, and envy; and satisfies various other desiderata. I also highlight two ways in which the analysis is informative and can lead to progress in our substantive theorizing about the good life. (shrink)
Among other good things, supervaluation is supposed to allow vague sentences to go without truth values. But Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently argued that it cannot allow this - not if it also respects certain conceptual truths. The main point I wish to make here is that they are mistaken. Supervaluation can leave truth-value gaps while respecting the conceptual truths they have in mind.
The concept system around ‘quantity’ and ‘quantity value’ is fundamental for measurement science, but some very basic issues are still open on such concepts and their relations. This paper proposes a duality between quantities and quantity values, a proposal that simplifies their characterization and makes it consistent.
An account of the logic of bivalent languages with truth-value gaps is given. This account is keyed to the use of tables introduced by S. C. Kleene. The account has two guiding ideas. First, that the bivalence property insures that the language satisfies classical logic. Second, that the general concepts of a valid sentence and an inconsistent sentence are, respectively, as sentences which are not false in any model and sentences which are not true in any model. What recommends (...) this approach is (1) its relative simplicity, and (2) the fact that it leaves the fundamental features of classical logic intact. (shrink)
In Rabinowicz (2008), I considered how value relations can best be analysed in terms of fitting pro-attitudes. In the formal model of that paper, fitting pro-attitudes are represented by the class of permissible preference orderings on a domain of items that are being compared. As it turns out, this approach opens up for a multiplicity of different types of value relationships, along with the standard relations of , , and . Unfortunately, the approach is vulnerable to a number (...) of objections. I believe these objections can be avoided if one re-interprets the underlying notion of preference: instead of treating preference as a attitude directed towards a pair of items, we can think of it as a difference of degree between attitudes of favouring. Each such monadic attitude has just one item as its object. Given this re-interpretation, permissible preferences can be modelled by the class of permissible assignments of degrees of favouring to items in the domain. From this construction, we can then recover the old modelling in terms of the class of permissible preference orderings, but the previous objections to that model no longer apply. (shrink)
Reason and Value collects 15 new papers by leading contemporary philosophers on themes from the work of Joseph Raz. Raz has made major contributions in a wide range of areas, including jurisprudence, political philosophy, and the theory of practical reason; but all of his work displays a deep engagement with central themes in moral philosophy. The subtlety and power of Raz's reflections on ethical topics make his writings a fertile source for anyone working in this area. Especially significant are (...) his explorations of the connections between practical reason and the theory of value, which constitute a sustained and penetrating treatment of a set of issues at the very center of moral philosophy as it is practiced today. The contributors to the volume acknowledge the importance of Raz's contributions by engaging critically with his positions and offering independent perspectives on the topics that he has addressed. The volume aims both to honour Raz's accomplishments in the area of ethical theorizing, and to contribute to an enhanced appreciation of the significance of his work for the subject. (shrink)
An understanding of the ethical problems that have arisen in the funding of scientific research at universities requires some attention to doctrines that have traditionally been held about science itself. Such doctrines, we hope to show, are themselves central to many of these ethical problems. It is often thought that the questions examined by scientists, and the theories that guide scientific research, are chosen for uniquely scientific reasons, independently of extra-scientific questions of value or merit. We shall argue that (...) this is an illusion. It is an illusion to think, especially in the present era, that science can even have a coherent direction apart from extra-scientific considerations. (shrink)
The concept system around 'quantity' and 'quantity value' is fundamental for measurement science, but some very basic issues are still open on such concepts and their relation. This paper argues that quantity values are in fact individual quantities, and that a complementarity exists between measurands and quantity values. This proposal is grounded on the analysis of three basic 'equality' relations: (i) between quantities, (ii) between quantity values and (iii) between quantities and quantity values. A consistent characterization of such concepts (...) is obtained, which is then generalized to 'property' and 'property value'. This analysis also throws some light on the elusive concept of magnitude. (shrink)
. Despite the classical prohibition of moving from fact to value, encounter with the biodiversity and plenitude of being in evolutionary natural history moves us to respect life, even to reverence it. Darwinian accounts are value-laden and necessary for understanding life at the same time that Darwinian theory fails to provide sufficient cause for the historically developing diversity and increasing complexity on Earth. Earth is a providing ground; matter and energy on Earth support life, but distinctive to life (...) is information coded in the genetic molecules that superintends this matter-energy. Life is generated and regenerated in struggle, persists in its perishing. Such life is also a gift; nature is grace. Biologists and theologians join in celebrating and conserving the genesis on Earth, awed in their encounter with this creativity that characterizes our home planet. (shrink)
A clear understanding of the concept of health plays a key role in defining what health care should comprise and in developing adequate strategies for overcoming the current "health care crisis". This volume is the result of an international and interdisciplinary cooperation between medicine and philosophy on the current debate on the concept of health.Besides offering a critical analysis of the WHO definition and a review of both ancient and contemporary conceptions of health, the cooperative effort of physicians and philosophers (...) presented in this book works through the challenges which any definition of health faces, if it is to be both truly personalist, and at the same time operational.The overall purpose of this book is to capture the essentials of human health and to propose the outlines for a personalist understanding of this concept, i.e., a conception that does justice to the personal nature of human beings by introducing dimensions that are essential to personal life and well-being, such as the realms of rationality, affectivity and freedom, the realms of meaning, values, morality, and spirituality, the realms of social and interpersonal relations. To grasp the uniqueness of the human person is not yet to grasp the specific nature of personal health. But it is certainly a first step, and it becomes evident that every theory of human health presupposes a theory of the person. Accordingly, the debate presented in this book is no less a debate about the nature of the human person than it is a debate about the nature of health.The investigations offered in this volume intend to provide an impetus for new conceptions of personhood and human health. The phenomenological approach has the advantage of advocating a systematic conception of the total person which combines surface experiences (subjective experiences of well-being) with deeper dimensions of the person (value and being). An adequate conception of the human person has enormous implications not only for our understanding of what constitutes the health and well-being of the person, but also for our conception of what health care should comprise. Hence, answering the philosophical questions, such as those raised in this volume about health, is crucial for the solution of political problems such as how to legislate health care policy. (shrink)
The ideal of value free science states that the justification of scientific findings should not be based on non-epistemic (e.g. moral or political) values. It has been criticized on the grounds that scientists have to employ moral judgements in managing inductive risks. The paper seeks to defuse this methodological critique. Allegedly value-laden decisions can be systematically avoided, it argues, by making uncertainties explicit and articulating findings carefully. Such careful uncertainty articulation, understood as a methodological strategy, is exemplified by (...) the current practice of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (shrink)
In this paper I present a criticism of Sarah Moss‘ recent proposal to use scoring rules as a means of reaching epistemic compromise in disagreements between epistemic peers that have encountered conflict. The problem I have with Moss‘ proposal is twofold. Firstly, it appears to involve a double counting of epistemic value. Secondly, it isn‘t clear whether the notion of epistemic value that Moss appeals to actually involves the type of value that would be acceptable and unproblematic (...) to regard as epistemic. (shrink)
Confucianism has a deep influence on the opinion of value priority in traditional Chinese culture, which consider the value of morality prior to that of utility; the value of moral merit prior to that of intelligent; the value of group prior to that of individuals; the value of peace and safety prior to that of freedom and liberty; the value of harmony prior to that of conflict. This kind of value priority has performed (...) very important and positive functions in Chinese culture, along with certain side-effects. Under the context of globalization, it is possible for the Chinese and Western values to complement each other in fusional harmony. (shrink)
Most philosophers who discuss the value of forgiveness concentrate on its moral value. This paper focuses on the prudential value of forgiveness, which has been surprisingly neglected by moral philosophers. I suggest that this may be because part of the concept of forgiveness involves the forgiver being motivated by moral rather than prudential considerations. But this does not justify neglecting the prudential value of forgiveness, which is important even though forgivers should not be prudentially motivated. Forgiveness (...) helps satisfy interests arising from the need for co-operation in such areas as epistemic life, where humans are interdependent. Forgiveness can restore epistemic relationships, and this has the prudential value of helping agents navigate their way through their environment. While the prudential value of forgiveness may be supplementary to its moral value, it would be a mistake to ignore this area of the debate. Exploring the prudential value of forgiveness enriches our understanding of the role that this practice plays in human life, and may contribute to explaining the origin of forgiveness. (shrink)
Stevens and the phenomenology of value : philosophical poetry and the demands of modernity -- Harmonium as a modernist text -- Ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds : the parts negation plays in developing a new poetic -- How Stevens uses the grammar of as -- Aspectual thinking -- Stevens' tragic mode : why the angel must disappear in Angel surrounded by paysans -- Aspect-seeing and its implications in The rock.
This is a critical study of the value of true belief: I argue that true belief is at most sometimes eudaimonically valuable (i.e. valuable vis-à-vis the wellbeing of the believer), and criticize realist accounts of the "epistemic" value of true belief that appeal to the thesis that belief "aims at truth.".
The book is a contribution to the study of values, as they affect both our personal and our public life. It defends the view that values are necessarily universal, on the ground that that is a condition of their intelligibility. It does, however, reject most common conceptions of universality, like those embodied in the writings on human rights. It aims to reconcile the universality of value with (a) the social dependence of value and (b) the centrality to our (...) life of deep attachments to people and countries alike. Building from there, the book explores personal love, the value of life, and the fundamental duty of respect for people. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider the meaning, roles, and uses of trust in the economic and public domain, focusing on the task of designing systems for trust in information technology. We analyze this task by means of a survey of what trust means in the economic and public domain, using the model proposed by Lewicki and Bunker, and using the emerging paradigm of value-sensitive design. We explore the difficulties developers face when designing information technology for trust and show how (...) our analysis in conjunction with existing engineering design methods provides means to address these difficulties. Our main case concerns a concrete problem in the economic domain, namely the transfer of control from customs agencies to companies. Control of individual items is increasingly untenable and is replaced by control on the level of companies aimed at determining whether companies can be trusted to be in control of their business and to be in compliance with applicable regulations. This transfer sets the task for companies to establish this trust by means of information technology systems. We argue that this trust can be achieved by taking into account philosophical analyses of trust and by including both parties in the trust relationship as clients for whom the information technology systems are to be designed. (shrink)
It is a widely accepted doctrine in epistemology that knowledge has greater value than mere true belief. But although epistemologists regularly pay homage to this doctrine, evidence for it is shaky. Is it based on evidence that ordinary people on the street make evaluative comparisons of knowledge and true belief, and consistently rate the former ahead of the latter? Do they reveal such a preference by some sort of persistent choice behavior? Neither of these scenarios is observed. Rather, epistemologists (...) come to this conclusion because they have some sort of conception or theory of what knowledge is, and they find reasons why people should rate knowledge, so understood, ahead of mere true belief. But what if these epistemological theories are wrong? Then the assumption that knowledge is more valuable than true belief might be in trouble. We don’t wish to take a firm position against the thesis that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. But we begin this paper by arguing that there is one sense of ‘know’ under which the thesis cannot be right. In particular, there seems to be a sense of ‘know’ in which it means, simply, ‘believe truly.’ If this is correct, then knowledge—in this weak sense of the term—cannot be more valuable than true belief. What evidence is there for a weak sense of ‘knowledge’ in which it is equivalent to ‘true belief’? Knowledge seems to contrast with ignorance. Not only do knowledge and ignorance contrast with one another but they seem to exhaust the alternatives, at least for a specified person and fact. Given a true proposition p, Diane either knows p or is ignorant of it. The same point can be expressed using rough synonyms of ‘know.’ Diane is either aware of (the fact that) p or is ignorant of it. She is either cognizant of p or ignorant of it. She either possesses the information that p or she is uninformed (ignorant) of it. To illustrate these suggestions, consider a case discussed by John Hawthorne (2002). If I ask you how many people in the room know that Vienna is the capital of Austria, you will tally up the number of people in the room who possess the information that Vienna is the capital of Austria.. (shrink)
Relativism offers a nifty way of accommodating most of our intuitions about epistemic modals, predicates of personal taste, color expressions, future contingents, and conditionals. But in spite of its manifest merits relativism is squarely at odds with epistemic value monism: the view that truth is the highest epistemic goal. I will call the argument from relativism to epistemic value pluralism the trivial argument for epistemic value pluralism. After formulating the argument, I will look at three possible ways (...) to refute it. I will then argue that two of these are unsuccessful, and defend the third, which involves denying that there are any genuinely relative truths. (shrink)
A claim to objectivity about value is sometimes cast as a claim about the value something has in itself, independent of its relations to other things. Goodness is supposed to be “separate from” relations to such irrelevancies as “private and personal advantage”, or “the positive will or command of God”, as Samuel Clarke put it.1 This thought about independence or separateness is also expressed in the idea of intrinsic value, so that it can be tempting to align (...) a commitment to objectivity in ethics with a commitment to intrinsic value. G.E. Moore thought that a hankering after objectivity was really a hankering after intrinsic value, and he envisaged an entailment in one direction at any rate: “from the proposition that a particular kind of value is ‘intrinsic’ it does follow that it must be ‘objective’”.2 What does intrinsic value really have to do with objectivity, though? I shall be arguing that the relationship between them is more distant than you might think: first, because the extrinsically valuable can be objectively valuable (as Moore allowed); second, and more surprisingly, because the intrinsically valuable can be merely subjectively.. (shrink)
Land use planning decisions are recognised as being value judgements, yet the questions of what values and whose values are rarely addressed. Values may be absolute or relative, intrinsic or extrinsic, passionately emotional or coolly reasoned, and 'measured' in a multitude of ways: by rarity, economics, social or aesthetic interpretations. Using examples of land use planning in Western Australia, I examine some of the complex values brought into play. I conclude that we need to explore, rather than reject, (...) the plurality of values we incorporate into planning decisions. Rather than imposing an artificial order on value confusion, we need to learn how to negotiate our decisions in a world of value complexity and diversity. (shrink)
What does it mean that an object has instrumental value? While some writers seem to think it means that the object bears a value, and that instrumental value accordingly is a kind of value, other writers seem to think that the object is not a value bearer but is only what is conducive to something of value. Contrary to what is the general view among philosophers of value, I argue that if instrumental (...) class='Hi'>value is a kind of value, then it is a kind of extrinsic final value. (shrink)
This paper explores the claim that someone can reasonably consider themselves to be under a duty to respect the autonomy of a person who does not have the capacities normally associated with substantial self-governance.
This essay proposes a re-evaluation of Dewey's work with emphasis upon the ability of his philosophy to effect a realistic reformulation and development of America's tradition of humanistic liberalism. Dewey combines the tough-minded realism (or naturalism), congenial to the scientific orientation of American philosophy, with a firm conviction of the need of values and revaluation in community life. I draw on recent work of Hilary Putnam on Dewey and argue for the viability of Dewey's conception of value inquiry. The (...)value of Dewey's work to American liberalism extends beyond the version of liberalism, from the 1930's and the 1940's with which is name is most closely associated. (shrink)
Elizabeth Anderson claims that states of affairs are merely extrinsically valuable, since we value them only in virtue of the intrinsically valuable (e.g.) persons in those states of affairs. Since it considers states of affairs to be the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson argues that consequentialism is incoherent because it attempts to globally maximize extrinsicvalue. I respond to this objection by distinguishing between two forms of consequentialist teleology and arguing that Anderson''s claim is either (...) harmless or her argument for the claim is uncompelling. On the first conception of teleology, consequentialists need not hold that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, which allows them to deflect this criticism. On the second account of teleology, even assuming that states of affairs are the sole bearers of intrinsic value, Anderson''s argument does not necessarily defeat such views. (shrink)
Debates about scientific (though rarely about otherforms of) knowledge, research policies or academic trainingoften involve a controversy about whether scientificknowledge possesses just “instrumental” value or also “intrinsic” value. Questioning this common simpleopposition, I scrutinize the issues involved in terms of agreater variety of structural types of values attributableto (scientific) knowledge. (Intermittently, I address thepuzzling habit of attributing “intrinsic” value to quitedifferent things, e.g. also to nature, in environmentalethics.) After some remarks on relevant broader philosophicaldebates about scientific knowledge, (...) I pave a path throughthe (terminological) thicket of structural types of values. Our initial simple opposition is shown to conflate thedistinctions intrinsic/extrinsic and instrumental (or justuseful)/final. Next, I consider the value(s) of knowledgeand knowing in general and their possible value components(like the values of truth and justifiedness). After havingdiscussed the types of value of everyday knowledge,especially its functional and constitutive value (notionsintroduced earlier), I argue that these can or should alsobe attributed to scientific knowledge, thus departing fromboth objectivist and sociological views of science. One could say that I offer a certain defense of theintrinsic value of scientific knowing (and the inherentvalue of scientific knowledge) and some importantdifferentiations of its “instrumental values”. I alsocaution (in relation with my puzzle) against drawing hastymoral conclusions. (shrink)
Which risks are bad? This is not an easy question to answer in any non-circular way. Not only are risks sought out for various reasons, but risks are plainly discounted in many situations. What may seem "risky" when examined all by itself, may not seem risky when encountered in a real lived situation. Thus risks that are imposed by others, in particular, might seem horrendous when considered in abstraction, but quite acceptable when encountered in life. What we need to do, (...) among other things, is to examine this "seeming." Are people being deluded or distracted when they fail to take seriously the riskiness of activities undertaken by others, or does this make some rational sense? There can be no doubt that people sometimes are deluded, of course. We are all fallible. But risks are not unalloyed evils. They are typically taken because of their association with something positive. So questions about whether people are making wise judgments when they don’t care about certain risks that they take, or, on the other side of the coin, when they become absolutely hysterical when confronted with a risk that appears to others to be insignificant, hinge on a web of further factors. (shrink)
This essay is an array of several taxonomies of values which bear on medicine. The first is a rather low-level list of types of values, meant to be adequate to observational data collection about human valuing. It proceeds to a discussion of levels of valuing so that senses of higher and lower values are articulated. Next, it offers a consideration of intrinsic versus extrinsic and of fundamental versus domestic (or mediating, enabling) values, along with the notions of a practice (...) and virtues. Finally it offers an analysis of clusters of value types along the lines of personal values, social values and professional values acting as interlocking force fields affecting the judgments, reactions and decisions of persons working in health care. In addition to the anticipated elucidation contained in the dialectic, two conclusions are intended: (1) the topic of values in medicine is staggeringly complex, and (2) a medical career is in the best sense a tragic fate in that a noble calling is doomed to many failures because of an inability to reconcile conflicts of values as much as because techniques cannot accomplish everything. (shrink)
What does it mean that an object has instrumental value? While some writers seem to think it means that the object bears a value, and that instrumental value accordingly is a kind of value, other writers seem to think that the object is not a value bearer but is only what is conducive to something of value. Contrary to what is the general view among philosophers of value, I argue that if instrumental (...) class='Hi'>value is a kind of value, then it is a kind of extrinsic final value. (shrink)
This article argues that Buddhists can consistently support autonomy as an educational ideal. The article defines autonomy as a matter of thinking and acting according to principles that one has oneself endorsed, showing the relationship between this ideal and the possession of an enduring self. Three central Buddhist doctrines of conditioned arising, impermanence and anatman are examined, showing a prima facie conflict between autonomy and Buddhist philosophy. Drawing on the ‘two truths’ theory of Nagarjuna, it is then shown that the (...) prima facie conflict can be defused by noting that the self has reality at one level, but is a fiction at another level. This approach allows us a new way of seeing autonomy as an extrinsicvalue—as a step in the journey towards nirvana, but of no value once one has achieved nirvana. (shrink)
In recent years, scholars studying the writing of the American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey have attempted to use his ethical ideas to construct a viable environmental ethics. This endeavor has found limited success and generated some intriguing debates, but has been found wanting in many areas important to environmental ethicists of the twenty-first century. In particular, the humanist motivations behind many of his ethical writings stand in the way of a philosophy that takes nonhumans seriously. However, there is much environmental (...) philosophers can learn from Dewey, not from his ethics, but from his ontological writings. A concept of the contingency of existence, found in Dewey, in particular in Experience and Nature, can be the foundation for a robust, if dark, ecological philosophy. (shrink)
The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. All strands of thought at heart contain to a particular theory of the individual. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorize it. This superb book remedies this oversight. The new approach put forward by Davies is to pay more attention to what moral philosophy may offer us in the study of personal identity, self consciousness and will. This crosses the (...) traditional boundaries of economics and will shed new light on the distinction between positive and normative analysis in economics. With both heterodox and orthodox economics receiving a thorough analysis from Davies, this book is at once inclusive and revealing. (shrink)
Reflection on the issues surrounding the value of knowledge and other cognitive states of interest to epistemologists can be traced to the conversation between Socrates and Meno in Plato’s dialogue named after the latter. The context of discussion concerns the hiring of a guide to get one to Larissa, and the proposal on the table is that one would want a guide who knows the way. Socrates sees a problem, however, for it is not clear why a guide with (...) merely true opinion will not be just as good. (shrink)