Philosophical Topics 38 (1):87-105 (2010)

Joshua Gert
College of William and Mary
Response-dispositional accounts of value defend a biconditional in which the possession of an evaluative property is said to covary with the disposition to cause a certain response. In contrast, a fitting-attitude account of the same property would claim that it is such as to merit or make fitting that same response. This paper argues that even for secondary qualities, response-dispositional accounts are inadequate; we need to import a normative notion such as appropriateness even into accounts of such descriptive properties as redness. A preliminary conclusion is that the normativity that appears in fitting-attitude accounts of evaluative properties need not have anything to do with the evaluative nature of those properties. It may appear there because evaluative properties—or at least thosefor which fitting-attitude accounts are plausible—really are so much like secondary qualities that it might well be appropriate to think of them as a subclass of secondary qualities. In the second half of the paper I discuss the views of three of the philosophers who have been most influential in discussions of response-featuring accounts of evaluative notions and who explicitly distinguish response-dispositional accounts of value from fittingattitude accounts: John McDowell, Simon Blackburn, and Crispin Wright. I highlight some of the theoretical temptations that can be associated with the assumption that the response-dispositional/fitting-attitude distinction parallels the secondary quality/evaluative property distinction
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics20103814
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Parity, Preference and Puzzlement.Joshua Gert - 2015 - Theoria 81 (3):249-271.
Revenge is sweet.Joshua Gert - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (4):971-986.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
101 ( #115,748 of 2,506,004 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,004 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes