Edited by Francesco Orsi (University of Tartu)
|Summary||This category includes works examining the relationship between values, in the sense of claims about value, and norms, in the sense of ethical principles concerning what is right, wrong, or there is reason to do. In a famous expression owed to David Ross's homonymous book, the category covers the relation between 'the right and the good'. Consequentialism provides a clear view of such relation: the good determines the right. In other words, what is right and wrong to do is determined on the basis of a ranking of actions on an evaluative scale. Certain forms of virtue ethics provide a different example of how the good determines the right. Here the relevant good is the goodness of the motive that an action would manifest, or the goodness of the agent. The question then is: What would a good (virtuous) agent do? On the other hand, deontological theories are often defined as rejecting this unilateral direction of explanation. One way to be a deontologist is to deny that all the right is determined by the good: W. D. Ross held such a view. E.g. the duty to keep promises is independent from the good that promise-keeping brings about. Another deontological approach claims that, in fact, the right determines the good. A good example here is Kant's claims about happiness: happiness is good, only on condition that is deserved, i.e. as a reward for acting rightly. A connected but in principle distinct debate that falls into this category is whether evaluative concepts should be defined in normative terms, or viceversa. This debate is distinct for two reasons: 1) it is a 'definitional' debate rather than one in normative ethics; 2) the relevant normative terms need not be moral ones, but simply the concept of a reason for acting and having attitudes. See the category on the buck-passing account of value. Yet another area of questions that can fall in this category is how values can justify norms: e.g. Does the value of knowledge (or some other value) justify epistemic norms? Does the value of coherence justify rational requirements?|
|Key works||Chapters 5 and 6 of Moore 1903 contain classic statements of a consequentialist approach, where the good (understood as intrinsic value) not only grounds but even defines the right. Ross 1930 as pointed out provides a clear example of a deontological view on the value-norms relation. The papers contained in Prichard 2002 provide much of the background for Ross's view, although arguing for a mixed view whereby the good is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the right. Within contemporary literature, Audi 2004 also proposes a non-consequentialist view, but takes fundamental moral norms to be ultimately grounded on the value of human flourishing. Baron et al 1997 puts consequentialism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics in dialogue, with an emphasis on how they answer the 'right and the good' question--interestingly Marcia Baron claims the centrality of value to Kant's ethics.|
|Introductions||Zimmermann 2007 Wedgwood 2009|
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Darrell P. Rowbottom
Learn more about PhilPapers