Deliberation About the Good: Justifying What We Have

Garland (1999)
This dissertation advances a theory of deliberation about the goals, projects and values that constitute a good or worthwhile life for a person. The central argument begins with the assumption that the concerns most people have in this kind of deliberation are to discover which goals are worth pursuing, or which ends worth valuing, given those features of ourselves that we find important on reflection, and choose our goals and values in such a way that our choices can bear our reflective scrutiny. The author's strategy is to argue first for an analysis of what it is to value, and second for standards of justification that govern rational valuing. Her account of valuing is novel in its emphasis on the importance of stability in a reflective pattern of motivational states. This account explains the motivational forces our values seem to have while avoiding the traps of other motivational accounts. The author then articulates standards for ideal deliberation and argues that the best way to approximate this ideal is by developing virtues of deliberation. Her insightful discussions of some particular virtues of deliberation persuade the reader that understanding good deliberation as a matter of developing virtues rather than following rules is a promising approach, which has been neglected in recent moral philosophy. The case for the author's own view is enriched and supported by critical discussions of competing theories of justification and valuing. Careful and illuminating discussions of contemporary philosophers such as Richard Brandt, Gerald Gaus, David Schmidtz, Elizabeth Anderson and Michael Smith are included.
Keywords Decision making Moral and ethical aspects  Values
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Call number BJ1419.T53 2000
ISBN(s) 0815336578
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