The Logic of Valuing

In Thomas Boylan & Ruvin Gekker (eds.), Economics, Rational Choice and Normative Philosophy. Routledge (2009)
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This paper analyzes the logical form of valuing. I argue that valuing a concept or property is a universal statement qua logical form, that valuing an object is an existential statement qua logical form, and, furthermore, that a correct analysis of the logical form of valuing contains doxastic operators. I show that these ingredients give rise to an interesting interplay between uniform and ununiform quantification, on the one hand, and de dicto and de re beliefs, on the other. I apply this analysis to the value of political freedom. The received view is that the value of freedom lies in the value of the specific things one is free to do. But Ian Carter has recently shown that freedom has irreducible, "non-specific" value, too. I show that underlying the debate between the proponents of the received view and their critics is a disagreement about logical form: ununiform de dicto beliefs about freedom as a concept, for the received view, and uniform half-de dicto-half-de re beliefs about freedom as an object, for its critics.



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Boudewijn de Bruin
University of Groningen

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