Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):287-311 (2017)

Mauro Rossi
Université du Québec à Montréal
According to Wlodek Rabinowicz's (2008) fitting-attitude analysis of value relations, two items are on a par if and only if it is both permissible to strictly prefer one to the other and permissible to have the opposite strict preference. Rabinowicz’s account is subject, however, to one important objection: if strict preferences involve betterness judgements, then his analysis contrasts with the intuitive understanding of parity. In this paper, I examine Rabinowicz’s three responses to this objection and argue that they do not succeed. I then propose an alternative solution. I argue that the objection can be avoided if we ‘relativize’ Rabinowicz’s account and define parity in terms of opposite strict preferences between two items that are only relatively permissible, rather than permissible simpliciter. I argue that this account of parity can be defended if we take seriously the distinction between sufficient and decisive reason for a preference relation. I also show that, on the basis of this distinction, we can arrive at a more extensive taxonomy of value relations than the one proposed by Rabinowicz.
Keywords Parity  Value relations  Fitting-attitude analysis of value  Preferences vs. Value Judgements objection  Wlodek Rabinowicz
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DOI 10.1017/s0266267116000286
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