Many fields (social choice, welfare economics, recommender systems) assume people express what benefits them via their 'revealed preferences'. Revealed preferences have well-documented problems when used this way, but are hard to displace in these fields because, as an information source, they are simple, universally applicable, robust, and high-resolution. In order to compete, other information sources (about participants' values, capabilities and functionings, etc) would need to match this. I present a conception of values as *attention policies resulting from constitutive judgements*, and (...) use it to build an alternative preference relation, Meaningful Choice, which retains many desirable features of revealed preference. (shrink)
I defend normative realism—the claim that there are mind-independent, absolute normative facts—mostly by arguing against its rivals. Against mind-dependent theories of normativity, I argue that at least one highly influential version of such a view, Lewis's dispositional theory of value, is subject to at least three severe problems: the problem of the implausible contingency of value, the problem of ideal conditions, and the problem of lack of convergence. Against relativistic conceptions of normativity, I argue that either they fail to evade (...) a commitment to absolute normative truths, or they fail to distinguish themselves from Nihilism. Finally, against Nihilism, I argue that it is not a coherent option at least for the normative domain of rationality, since facts about rationality are presupposed by any judgment, including any judgment meant to express a skepticism about facts about rationality. (shrink)
Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Brentano, Moore, and Chisholm suggest marks of intrinsic value. Contemporary philosophers such as Christine Korsgaard have insightful discussions of intrinsic value. But how do we verify that some specific thing really is intrinsically valuable? I propose a natural way to test for intrinsic value: first, strip the candidate bare of all considerations of good consequences; and, second, see if what remains is still a good thing. I argue that we, as ordinary human beings, have (...) an astonishingly difficult time completing this test for plausible candidates. More precisely, for us as we are, it seems that the conditions for completing the first step of the test militate against the conditions for completing the second step. I conclude, then, that we have a good reason to think that we cannot verify whether or not particular things are intrinsically good. I explore some implications and I consider a number of important objections. (shrink)
It may be a myth that Plato wrote over the entrance to the Academy “Let no-one ignorant of geometry enter here.” But it is a well-chosen motto for his view in the Republic that mathematical training is especially productive of understanding in abstract realms, notably ethics. That view is sound and we should return to it. Ethical theory has been bedevilled by the idea that ethics is fundamentally about actions (right and wrong, rights, duties, virtues, dilemmas and so on). That (...) is an error like the one Plato mentions of thinking mathematics is about actions (of adding, constructing, extracting roots and so on). Mathematics is about eternal relations between universals, such as the ratio of the diagonal of a square to the side. Ethics too is about eternal verities, such as the equal worth of persons and just distributions. Mathematical and ethical verities do both constrain actions, such as the possibility of walking over the seven bridges of Königsberg once and once only or of justly discriminating between races. But they are not themselves about action. In principle, neither mathematical nor ethical verities are subject to historical forces or disagreement among tribes (though they can be better understood as time goes on). Plato is right: immersion in mathematics induces an understanding of the necessities underpinning reality, an understanding that is essential for distinguishing objective ethics from tribal custom. Equality, for example, is an abstract concept which is foundational for both mathematics and ethics. (shrink)
This book explores "real" valuation through tracing the pragmatic meanings of "mattering." Employing Peirce's overall pragmatic method and realism to understand what we mean when we say something "matters," it encourages consideration of the practices we engage in, the values attached to those practices, and their consequences.
Atheistic Platonism is an alternative to both theism and nihilistic atheism. It shows how any jobs allegedly done by God are better done by impersonal Platonic objects. Without Platonic objects, atheism degenerates into an illogical nihilism. Atheistic Platonism instead provides reality with foundations that are eternal, necessary, rational, beautiful, and utterly mindless. It argues for a plenitude of mathematical objects, and an infinite plurality of possible universes. It provides mindless rational grounds for objective values, and for objective moral laws for (...) the persons who evolve in universes. It defines a meaningful way of life, which facilitates self-improvement. Atheistic Platonists argue for computational theories of life after death. Atheistic Platonism includes a rich system of spiritual symbols. It values transformational practices and ecstatic experiences. Where atheisms based on materialism fail, atheisms based on Platonism succeed. (shrink)
Philosophers have long theorized about what makes people's lives go well, and why, and the extent to which morality and self-interest can be reconciled. However, we have spent little time on meta-prudential questions, questions about prudential discourse—thought and talk about what is good and bad for us; what contributes to well-being; and what we have prudential reason, or prudentially ought, to do. This situation is surprising given that prudence is, prima facie, a normative form of discourse and cries out for (...) further investigation of what it is like and whether it has problematic commitments. It also marks a stark contrast from moral discourse, about which there has been extensive theorizing, in meta-ethics. -/- Dear Prudence: The Nature and Normativity of Prudential Discourse has three broad aims. Firstly, Guy Fletcher explores the nature of prudential discourse. Secondly, he argues that prudential discourse is normative and authoritative, like moral discourse. Thirdly, Fletcher aims to show that prudential discourse is worthy of further, explicit, attention both due to its intrinsic interest but also for the light it sheds on the meta-normative more broadly. (shrink)
The prominent Russian philosopher Nikolai Lossky and his ex-student Nicolai Hartmann shared many metaphysical and epistemological views, and Lossky is likely to have influenced Hartmann in adopting several of them. But, in the case of axiological issues, it appears that Lossky also borrowed from the axiologies of Hartmann and the latter's Cologne colleague, Max Scheler. The links between the theories of values of Scheler and Hartmann have been studied abundantly, but never in relation to Lossky. In this paper, I examine (...) the manifold relationships – similarities, differences, borrowings, criticisms, and possible influences – between Lossky's axiology and those of Scheler and Hartmann on four key interweaving issues: (1) their ontological realism with regards to the objectivity of values, (2) their epistemological theories of the intuition of values, (3) their ontological definitions of "value", i.e., whether values are relations, qualities, essences, powers, meanings, etc., and (4) their theories of the stratification of values. (shrink)
This is a translation of the obituary that Nicolai Hartmann wrote for his colleague and friend, Max Scheler, after the latter's premature death in 1928. In this eulogy, after emphasizing the unfortunate incompleteness of Scheler's lifework, his keeping abreast with the development of the various sciences, his power of intuition, and the fact that he was a philosopher of life without for that matter having a Lebensphilosophie, Hartmann chronologically recapitulates Scheler's life achievements, beginning with his career in Jena, his interest (...) for ethical principles, his relation to the phenomenological movement in Munich, his theory of values, wartime in Berlin, his work on the sociology of knowledge, he gives us glimpses into Scheler's unwritten and still fluctuating metaphysical views, his ever-growing interest in ontological questions, which was guided by his continued interest in the problem of man, his power of relearning, and the apparent contradictions in his thought, which, Hartmann says, was primarily the thought of a "problemthinker." The original German text was first published in Kant-Studien: Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft, vol. 33, n. 1/2, 1928, pp. ix‒xvi. The original pagination is indicated in angle brackets. (shrink)
This is our introduction to the 50 years Anniversary Issue of The Southern Journal of Philosophy on "Relativism about Value". Contributors: Berit Brogaard, Andy Egan, Ragnar Francén Olinder, Karl Schafer, Isidora Stojanovic, Folke Tersman.
El siguiente trabajo es un análisis que sigue la interpretación de Max Scheler, acerca del trabajo, el saber, la moral y el conocer. La obra del autor en la que nos basamos se llama Conocimiento y Trabajo, obra donde expone y critica la teoría del conocimiento del pragmatismo; lo que llevó a Scheler a escribir esta obra fue, principalmente la estimación del valor de la teoría pragmatista del conocimiento. Igualmente, es un análisis a la interpretación del sentido de la filosofía (...) y del carácter moral que para Scheler tiene este conocimiento. El texto a este respecto es: Sobre la Esencia de la Filosofía y de la Condición Moral del Conocimiento Filosófico, conferencia que apareció publicada por vez primera en 1917. En otras ediciones aparece como parte de la obra de lo eterno en el hombre. (shrink)