Holism about Fact and Value

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper argues for confirmational holism about facts and values. This position is similar to one defended by (among others) Hilary Putnam, but the argument is importantly different. Whereas Putnam et al. rely on examples of the putative entanglement of facts and values – a strategy which I suggest is vulnerable to parrying – my argument proceeds at a more general level. I argue that the explanation of action can not be separated from our practical reasoning, and for this reason, the ‘webs’ of value and fact judgments are joined in the same way that Quine holds the judgments of mathematics and natural science to be.

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Kenneth Walden
Dartmouth College

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