We defend a fitting-attitude theory of the funny against a set of potential objections. Ultimately, we endorse a version of FA theory that treats reasons for amusement as non-compelling, metaphysically non-conditional, and alterable by social features of the joke telling context. We find that this version of FA theory is well-suited to accommodate our ordinary practices of telling and being amused by jokes, and helpfully bears on the related faultless disagreement dispute.
This paper examines the debate as to whether something can have final value in virtue of its relational (i.e., non-intrinsic) properties, or, more briefly put, whether final value must be intrinsic. The paper adopts the perspective of the fitting-attitude analysis (FA analysis) of value, and argues that from this perspective, there is no ground for the requirement that things may have final value only in virtue of their intrinsic properties, but that there might be some grounds for the (...) alternate requirement that final value be grounded only in the essential properties of their bearers. First, the paper introduces the key elements of the FA analysis, and sets aside an obvious but unimportant way in which this analysis makes all final values relational. Second, it discusses some classical counterexamples to the view that final value must be intrinsic. Third, it discusses the relation between final, contributive, and signatory value. Fourth, it examines Zimmerman’s defense of the requirement that final value must be intrinsic on the grounds that final value cannot be derivative. And finally, it explores the alternative requirement that something may have final value in virtue of its essential properties. (shrink)
Classical fitting-attitude analyses understand value in terms of its being fitting, or more generally, there being a reason to favour the bearer of value. Recently, such analyses have been interpreted as referring to two reason-notions rather than to only one. The idea is that the properties of the object provide reason not only for a certain kind of favouring(s) vis-à-vis the object, but the very same properties should also figure in the intentional content of the favouring; the (...) agent should favour the object on account of those properties that provide reason for favouring the object in the first place. While this expansion of the original proposal might seem intuitive given that favourings are discerning attitudes, it is nonetheless argued that proponents of the fitting-attitude analysis are in fact not served by such an expansion of the classical analysis. The objections raised here are relevant not only for advocates and critics of fitting-attitude analyses, but for anyone interested in the relation between normative reasons and motivation. (shrink)
Joshua Gert and Wlodek Rabinowicz have developed frameworks for value relations that are rich enough to allow for non-standard value relations such as parity. Yet their frameworks do not allow for any non-standard preference relations. In this paper, I shall defend a symmetry between values and preferences, namely, that for every value relation, there is a corresponding preference relation, and vice versa. I claim that if the arguments that there are non-standard value relations are cogent, these arguments, mutatis mutandis, also (...) show that there are non-standard preference relations. Hence frameworks of Gert and Rabinowicz's type are either inadequate since there are cogent arguments for both non-standard value and preference relations and these frameworks deny this, or they lack support since the arguments for non-standard value relations are unconvincing. Instead, I propose a simpler framework that allows for both non-standard value and preference relations. (shrink)
Understanding value in terms of fitting attitudes is all the rage these days. According to this fittingattitude analysis of value (FA-analysis for short) what is good is what it is fitting to favour in some sense. Many aspects of the FA-analysis have been discussed. In particular, a lot of discussion has been concerned with the wrong-reason objection: it can be fitting to have an attitude towards something for reasons that have nothing to do (...) with the value the thing has in itself. Much less attention has been paid to the problem of identifying the relevant attitudes in virtue of which value is supposed to be defined. An old complaint, however, is that the FA-analysis is bound to be circular, because the fittingattitude is best seen as an evaluative judgement or an evaluative experience. In this paper, I am arguing that the challenge to find a non-circular account is deepened by the fact that on many popular non-evaluative understandings of favouring, there are good states of affairs that it is never fitting to favour, because it is logically impossible or irrational to favour them. I will also show that the remaining candidate of favouring, 'imaginative emotional feeling', will generate a new version of the wrong-reason objection if it is put to use in the FA-account. I shall conclude that the prospects of finding a non-circular FA-analysis look bleak. (shrink)
According to ‘FittingAttitude’ (FA) analyses of value, for an object to be valuable is for that object to have properties—other than its being valuable—that make it a fitting object of certain responses. In short, if an object is positively valuable it is fitting to favour it; if an object is negatively valuable it is fitting to disfavour it. There are several variants of FA analyses. Some hold that for an object to be valuable is (...) for it to be such that it ought to be favoured; others hold that value is analyzable in terms of reasons or requirements to favour. All these variants of the FA analysis are subject to a partiality challenge : there are circumstances in which some agents have reasons to favour or disfavour some object—due to the personal relations in which they stand to the object—without this having any bearing on the value of the object. A. C. Ewing was one of the first philosophers to draw attention to the partiality challenge for FA analyses. In this paper I explain the challenge and consider Ewing's responses, one of which is preferable to the other, but none of which is entirely satisfactory. I go on to develop an alternative Brentano-inspired response that Ewing could have offered and that may well be preferable to the responses Ewing actually did offer. (shrink)
A fitting-attitude analysis which understands value in terms of reasons and pro- and con-attitudes allows limited wriggle room if it is to respect a radical division between good and good-for. Essentially, its proponents can either introduce two different normative notions, one relating to good and the other to good-for, or distinguish two kinds of attitude, one corresponding to the analysis of good and the other to good-for. It is argued that whereas the first option faces a counterintuitive (...) scope issue, an attitudinal approach couched in terms of ‘for someone's sake’ attitudes has the unwelcome consequence that whatever is good for someone is also necessarily good. It is argued that this consequence can be avoided if we modify the standard way of formulating the fitting-attitude analysis of final impersonal value. (shrink)
Philosophers interested in the fittingattitude analysis of final value have devoted a great deal of attention to the wrong kind of reasons problem. This paper offers an example of the reverse difficulty, the wrong kind of value problem. This problem creates deeper challenges for the fittingattitude analysis and provides independent grounds for rejecting it, or at least for doubting seriously its correctness.
According to fitting-attitude (FA) accounts of value, X is of final value if and only if there are reasons for us to have a certain pro-attitude towards it. FA accounts supposedly face the wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem. The WKR problem is the problem of revising FA accounts to exclude so called wrong kind of reasons. And wrong kind of reasons are reasons for us to have certain pro-attitudes towards things that are not of value. I (...) argue that the WKR problem can be dissolved. I argue that (A) the view that there are wrong kind of reasons for the pro-attitudes that figure in FA accounts conflicts with the conjunction of (B) an extremely plausible and extremely weak connection between normative and motivating rea- sons and (C) an extremely plausible generality constraint on the reasons for pro- attitudes that figure in FA accounts. I argue that when confronted with this trilemma we should give up (A) rather than (B) or (C) because there is a good explanation of why (A) seems so plausible but is in fact false, but there is no good explanation of why (B) and (C) seem so plausible but are in fact false. (shrink)
Evaluative concepts and emotions appear closely connected. According to a prominent account, this relation can be expressed by propositions of the form ‘something is admirable if and only if feeling admiration is appropriate in response to it’. The first section discusses various interpretations of such ‘Value-Emotion Equivalences’, for example the FittingAttitude Analysis, and it offers a plausible way to read them. The main virtue of the proposed way to read them is that it is well-supported by a (...) promising account of emotions, namely the Perceptual Theory of Emotions, which emphasises the analogies between emotions and sensory perceptual experiences. The second section considers a worry about whether concepts such as admirable are really evaluative. It is maintained that even though the arguments used to show that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative can be transposed to affective concepts, these arguments can be resisted. So there is no need to abandon the intuitive claim that affective concepts are inherently evaluative. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Confronted with the Wrong Kind of Reasons problem, several proponents of the fittingattitude analysis of emotional values have argued in favor of an epistemic approach. In such a view, an emotion fits its object because the emotion is correct. However, I argue that we should reorient our search towards a practical approach because only practical considerations can provide a satisfying explanation of the fittingness of emotional responses. This practical approach is partially revisionist, particularly because it is (...) no longer an analysis of final value and because it is relativistic. (shrink)
I present and defend (1) an account of ethical judgments as judgments about our reasons to feel specific motivationally laden attitudes, (2) an account of what an agent should do in terms of what would achieve ends that she has reason to be motivated to pursue, and (3) an account of an agent’s reasons for motivation (and thus action) in terms of the prescriptions of the most fundamental principles that guide her deliberations. Using these accounts, I explain the connection between (...) ethics and reasons for action, how ethical judgments are both descriptive and intrinsically motivating, and how ethical facts arise from facts about agents’ deliberations. (shrink)
This paper defends a 'fitting attitudes' view of value on which what it is for something to be good is for there to be reasons to favour that thing. The first section of the paper defends a 'linking principle' connecting reasons and value. The second and third sections argue that this principle is better explained by a fitting-attitudes view than by 'value-first' views on which reasons are explained in terms of value.
According to FittingAttitude theorists, for something to possess a certain value it is necessary and sufficient that it be fitting (appropriate, or good, or obligatory, or something) to take a certain attitude to the bearer of that value. The idea seems obvious for thick evaluative attributes, but less obvious for the thin evaluative attributes—like goodness, betterness, and degrees of value. This paper is an extended argument for the thesis that the fitting response to the (...) thin evaluative attributes of states is desire, broadly construed. The good is what it is fitting to desire, the bad what it is fitting to be averse to, and the better what it is fitting to prefer. I start with two prominent challenges to the FA schema (Wrong Kinds of Reasons and Solitary Goods). For the FA schema to survive these challenges—along with some developments of them—the fitting response to the goodness of a state has to be a non-factive, non-doxastic representation of the state as good—in other words, an appearance of the goodness that state. That desires and preferences are non-doxastic value appearances is independently attractive, and I argue that this is in fact the simplest hypothesis compatible with the FittingAttitude approach.Fitting Attitudes. (shrink)
In a number of recent philosophical debates, it has become common to distinguish between two kinds of normative reasons, often called the right kind of reasons (henceforth: RKR) and the wrong kind of reasons (henceforth: WKR). The distinction was first introduced in discussions of the so-called buck-passing account of value, which aims to analyze value properties in terms of reasons for pro-attitudes and has been argued to face the wrong kind of reasons problem. But nowadays it also gets applied in (...) other philosophical contexts and to reasons for other responses than pro-attitudes, for example in recent debates about evidentialism and pragmatism about reasons for belief. While there seems to be wide agreement that there is a general and uniform distinction that applies to reasons for different responses, there is little agreement about the scope, relevance and nature of this distinction. Our aim in this article is to shed some light on this issue by surveying the RKR/WKR distinction as it has been drawn with respect to different responses, and by examining how it can be understood as a uniform distinction across different contexts. We start by considering reasons for pro-attitudes and emotions in the context of the buck-passing account of value (§1). Subsequently we address the distinction that philosophers have drawn with respect to reasons for other attitudes, such as beliefs and intentions (§2), as well as with respect to reasons for action (§3). We discuss the similarities and differences between the ways in which philosophers have drawn the RKR/WKR distinction in these areas and offer different interpretations of the idea of a general, uniform distinction. The major upshot is that there is at least one interesting way of substantiating a general RKR/WKR distinction with respect to a broad range of attitudes as well as actions. We argue that this has important implications for the proper scope of buck-passing accounts and the status of the wrong kind of reasons problem (§4). (shrink)
What is the relation between virtue and wellbeing? Our claim is that, under certain conditions, virtue necessarily tends to have a positive impact on an individual’s wellbeing. This is so because of the connection between virtue and psychological happiness, on the one hand, and between psychological happiness and wellbeing, on the other hand. In particular we defend three claims: that virtue is constituted by a disposition to experience fitting emotions, that fitting emotions are constituents of fitting happiness, (...) and that fitting happiness is a constituent of wellbeing. What follows is that, under certain conditions, virtue disposes the individual to experience wellbeing-constituting states. We end with a discussion of two objections that may be raised against our proposal. (shrink)
Mark Schroeder has recently offered a solution to the problem of distinguishing between the so-called " right " and " wrong " kinds of reasons for attitudes like belief and admiration. Schroeder tries out two different strategies for making his solution work: the alethic strategy and the background-facts strategy. In this paper I argue that neither of Schroeder's two strategies will do the trick. We are still left with the problem of distinguishing the right from the wrong kinds of reasons.
Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way argue that we should put fittingness rather than reasons first because we can provide an account of the evaluative in terms of the normative only if we put fittingness rather than reasons first. I argue that it is no more difficult to provide an account of the evaluative in terms of the normative if we put reasons rather than fittingness first.
The purpose of this paper is to present a new argument against so-called fittingattitude analyses of intrinsic value, according to which, roughly, for something to be intrinsically good is for there to be reasons to want it for its own sake. The argument is indirect. First, I submit that advocates of a fitting-attitude analysis of value should, for the sake of theoretical unity, also endorse a fitting-attitude analysis of a closely related but distinct (...) concept: the concept of intrinsic value for a person, i.e., the concept of welfare. Then I argue directly against fitting-attitude analyses of welfare. This argument, which is the focus of the paper, is based on the idea that whereas whether an event is good or bad for a person doesn’t change over time, the attitudes there is reason to have towards such an event can change over time. Therefore, one cannot explain the former in terms of the latter, as fitting-attitude analyses of welfare attempt to do. (shrink)
Franz Brentano was not a systematic writer, but he was very much a systematic thinker. Through his manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, dictations, and occasional published writings, one can discern a systematic, unified approach to the true, the good, and the beautiful. My goal here is to articulate explicitly this approach, and the philosophical program it reflects. The exercise requires going over big stretches of terrain with some efficiency; I will go just as deep into Brentano’s approaches to the true, the (...) good, and the beautiful as is required to make explicit their structural unity. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Bykvist’s recent challenges to the fitting-attitude account of value (FA) can be successfully met. The challenge from solitary goods claims that FA cannot account for the value of states of affairs which necessarily rule out the presence of favouring subjects. I point out the modal reasons why FA can account for solitary goods by appealing to contemplative attitudes. Bykvist’s second challenge, the ‘distance problem’, questions the ability of FA to match facts about (...) the intensity of fitting attitudes and facts about value, particularly in the case of solitary goods. I argue that this challenge can be met by including the notion of a veil of ignorance in the formulation of FA, and understanding its role as bracketing the relevance of certain facts when determining the fittingness of attitudes to states of affairs. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the buck-passing analysis (BPA) of final value is not a plausible analysis of value and should be abandoned. While considering the influential wrong kind of reason problem and other more recent technical objections, this paper contends that there are broader reasons for giving up on buck-passing. It is argued that the BPA, even if it can respond to the various technical objections, is not an attractive analysis of final value. It is not attractive (...) for two reasons: the first being that the BPA lacks the features typical of successful conceptual analyses and the second being that it is unable to deliver on the advantages that its proponents claim for it. While not offering a knock-down technical refutation of the BPA, this paper aims to show that there is little reason to think that the BPA is correct, and that it should therefore be given up as an analysis of final value. (shrink)
This paper is a critical notice of a recent significant contribution to the debate about fitting attitudes and value, namely Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen’s Personal Value . In this book, Rønnow-Rasmussen seeks to analyse the notion of personal value—an instance of the notion of good for a person—in terms of fitting attitudes. The paper has three main themes: Rønnow-Rasmussen’s discussion of general problems for fittingattitude analyses; his formulation of the fittingattitude analysis of personal value (...) and the notion of ‘for someone’s sake attitudes’; and his critique of the dichotomy between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This paper explores Franz Brentano’s metaethics by comparing it to Thomas Reid’s. Brentano and Reid share a commitment to moral realism and they are both aptly classified as intuitionists concerning moral knowledge and the nature of moral judgment. However, their respective versions of intuitionism are importantly different, in ways that reflect more general differences between their respective epistemological views. Sections III and IV of the paper focus more exclusively on Brentano’s metaethics and some of its unorthodox features. These features tie (...) in with notorious difficulties for moral realism concerning the nature of moral truth and the relation between moral judgment and motivation to act. (shrink)
Uriah Kriegel presents a rich exploration of the philosophy of the great nineteenth-century thinker Franz Brentano. He locates Brentano at the crossroads where the Anglo-American and continental European philosophical traditions diverged. At the centre of this account of Brentano's philosophy is the connection between mind and reality. Kriegel aims to develop Brentano's central ideas where they are overly programmatic or do not take into account philosophical developments that have taken place since Brentano's death a century ago; and to offer a (...) partial defense of Brentano's system as quite plausible and in any case extraordinarily creative and thought-provoking. Brentano's system grounds a complete metaphysics and value theory in a well-developed philosophy of mind, and accordingly the book is divided into three parts, devoted to Brentano's philosophy of mind, his metaphysics, and his moral philosophy. The book's fundamental ambition is to show how Brentano combines the clarity and precision of the analytic philosopher with the sweeping vision of the continental philosopher. Brentano pays careful attention to important distinctions, conscientiously defines key notions, presents precise arguments for his claims, judiciously considers potential objections, and in general proceeds very methodically - yet he does so not as an end in itself, but as a means only. His end is the crafting of a grand philosophical system in the classical sense, attempting to produce nothing less than a unified theory of the true, the good, and the beautiful. (shrink)
This note explores how ideal subjectivism in metanormative theory can help solve two important problems for FittingAttitude analyses of value. The wrong-kind-of-reason problem is that there may be sufficient reason for attitude Y even if the object is not Y-able. The many-kinds-of-fittingness problem is that the same attitude can be fitting in many ways. Ideal subjectivism addresses both by maintaining that an attitude is W-ly fitting if and only if endorsed by any (...) W-ly ideal subject. A subject is W-ly ideal when the most robust way of avoiding W-type practical problems is deferring to her endorsement. (shrink)
What is it for a car, a piece of art or a person to be good, bad or better than another? In this first book-length introduction to value theory, Francesco Orsi explores the nature of evaluative concepts used in everyday thinking and speech and in contemporary philosophical discourse. The various dimensions, structures and connections that value concepts express are interrogated with clarity and incision. -/- Orsi provides a systematic survey of both classic texts including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Moore and Ross (...) and an array of contemporary theorists. The reader is guided through the moral maze of value theory with everyday examples and thought experiments. Rare stamps, Napoleon's hat, evil demons, and Kant's good will are all considered in order to probe our intuitions, question our own and philosophers' assumptions about value, and, ultimately, understand better what we want to say when we talk about value. -/- 1. Value and Normativity 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Which Evaluations? 1.3 The Idea of Value Theory 1.4 Value and Normativity 1.5 Overview 1.6 Meta-ethical Neutrality 1.7 Value Theory: The Questions -/- 2. Meet the Values: Intrinsic, Final & Co. 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Final and Unconditional Value: Some Philosophical Examples 2.3 Intrinsic Value and Final Value 2.4 The Reduction to Facts 2.5 Intrinsic and Conditional Value 2.6 Elimination of Extrinsic Value? 2.7 Summary -/- 3. The Challenge against Absolute Value 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Geach and Attributive Goodness 3.3 Foot and the Virtues 3.4 Thomson and Goodness in a Way 3.5 Zimmerman's Ethical Goodness 3.6 A Better Reply: Absolute Value and Fitting Attitudes 3.7 Summary -/- 4. Personal Value 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Moore on Good and Good For 4.3 Good For and Fitting Attitudes 4.4 Moore Strikes Back? 4.5 Agent-relative Value 4.6 Impersonal/Personal and Agent-neutral/Agent-relative 4.7 Summary -/- 5. The Chemistry of Value 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Supervenience and Other Relations 5.3 Organic Unities 5.4 Alternatives to Organic Unities: Virtual Value 5.5 Alternatives to Organic Unities: Conditional Value 5.6 Holism and Particularism 5.7 Summary -/- 6. Value Relations 6.1 Introduction 6.2 The Trichotomy Thesis and Incomparability 6.3 A FittingAttitude Argument for Incomparability 6.4 Against Incomparability: Epistemic Limitations 6.5 Against Incomparability: Parity 6.6 Parity and Choice 6.7 Parity and Incomparability 6.8 Summary -/- 7. How Do I Favour Thee? 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Three Dimensions of Favouring 7.3 Responses to Value: Maximizing 7.4 Two Concepts of Intrinsic Value? 7.5 Summary -/- 8. Value and the Wrong Kind of Reasons 8.1 Introduction 8.2 The FittingAttitude Account and its Rivals 8.3 The Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem 8.4 The Structure of the Problem and an Initial Response 8.5 Reasons for What? 8.6 Characteristic Concerns and Shared Reasons 8.7 Circular Path: No-Priority 8.8 Summary . (shrink)
In this paper, I use an example from the history of philosophy to show how independently defining each side of a pair of contrary predicates is apt to lead to contradiction. In the Euthyphro, piety is defined as that which is loved by some of the gods while impiety is defined as that which is hated by some of the gods. Socrates points out that since the gods harbor contrary sentiments, some things are both pious and impious. But “pious” and (...) “impious” are contrary predicates; they cannot simultaneously characterize the same thing. Euthyphro changes his definition, but the problem of recognizing emotional ambivalence is only side-stepped. I go on to show how contemporary philosophers run into a similar problem. According to Prinz, something is good if and only if we harbor positive sentiments towards it and bad if and only if we harbor negative sentiments towards it. Thus, if we are ambivalent towards something (if we harbor both positive and negative sentiments towards it), then it is both good and bad. Like “pious” and “impious”, “good” and “bad” are contraries. Next, according to the fitting-attitude theory first elaborated by Brentano and favored by contemporary meta-ethicists like Blackburn, Brandt, Ewing, Garcia, Gibbard, McDowell, and Wiggins, something is good if and only if it is a fitting (appropriate) object of approbation, and something is bad if and only if it is a fitting (appropriate) object of disapprobation. I argue that moral ambivalence is sometimes appropriate, i.e., that the correct response to some things is to both love and hate them. Hence, according to the fitting-attitudes theory, some things are both good and bad. I conclude by discussing a variety of ways in which the problem of ambivalence may be solved, suggesting that attitudes of approbation and disapprobation be further individuated by the reasons for them. (shrink)
Many writers accept the following thesis about responsibility: (R) For one to be responsible for something is for one to be such that it is fitting that one be the object of some reactive attitude with respect to that thing. This thesis bears a striking resemblance to a thesis about value that is also accepted by many writers: (V) For something to be good (or neutral, or bad) is for it to be such that it is fitting (...) that it be the object of some pro-attitude (or indifference, or some contra-attitude). V has been the subject of intense debate in recent years, in part because of its incorporation into what has come to be called the “buck-passing” account of value. In particular, V is open to three challenges: that it is not necessarily the case that whatever is good is the fitting object of a pro-attitude; that it is not necessarily the case that whatever is the fitting object of a pro-attitude is good; and that, even if there is a strict equivalence between what is good and what is the fitting object of a pro-attitude, still the former is not to be analyzed in terms of the latter. The resemblance between V and R has not been previously commented on, but, once it is recognized, it is clear that R is open to challenges that resemble those to which V is vulnerable. This paper explores both the challenges to V and the parallel challenges to R and discusses responses that may be given to these challenges. The interrelation between V and R is then examined, and a general lesson is drawn concerning how to adjudicate disputes about the nature of moral responsibility. (shrink)
It is argued that the so-called fittingattitude- or buck-passing pattern of analysis may be applied to personal values too if the analysans is fine-tuned in the following way: An object has personal value for a person a, if and only if there is reason to favour it for a’s sake. One benefit with it is its wide range: different kinds of values are analysable by the same general formula. Moreover, by situating the distinguishing quality in the (...) class='Hi'>attitude rather than the reason part, the analysis admits that personal value is recognizable as a value not only by the person for whom it has personal value, but for everyone else too. We thereby avoid facing two completely different notions of value, viz., one pertaining to impersonal value, and another to personal value. The analysis also elucidates why we are justified in our concern for objects that are valuable for us; if value just is, as it is suggested, the existence of reasons for such a concern, the justification is immediately forthcoming. (shrink)
Contemporary value theory has been characterized by a renewed interest in the analysis of concepts like "good" or "valuable", the most prominent pattern of analysis in recent years being the socalled buck-passing or fitting-attitude analysis which reduces goodness to a matter of having properties that provide reasons for pro-attitudes. Here I argue that such analyses are best understood as metaphysical rather than linguistic and that while the buck-passing analysis has some virtues, it still fails to provide a suitably (...) wide-ranging pattern of analysis for conceptualizing evaluative properties. Instead, a better alternative can be found in a metaphysical version of the Geachean view that goodness is always attributive and never predicative, namely that goodness is always a matter of relative placement in certain kinds of comparison classes. It is then suggested that the good and the valuable need to be separated from each other and that the latter is a species of the former. (shrink)
Recently, it has been a part of the so-called consequentializing project to attempt to construct versions of consequentialism that can support agent-relative moral constraints. Mark Schroeder has argued that such views are bound to fail because they cannot make sense of the agent relative value on which they need to rely. In this paper, I provide a fitting-attitude account of both agent-relative and agent-neutral values that can together be used to consequentialize agent-relative constraints.
In the contemporary moral responsibility debate, most theorists seem to be giving accounts of responsibility in the ‘desert-entailing sense’. Despite this agreement, little has been said about the notion of desert that is supposedly entailed. In this paper I propose an understanding of desert sufficient to help explain why the blameworthy and praiseworthy deserve blame and praise, respectively. I do so by drawing upon what might seem an unusual resource. I appeal to so-called Fitting-Attitude accounts of value to (...) help inform a conception of desert or merit, one that can be usefully applied to discussions of moral responsibility. I argue that the view, which I call, Desert as Fittingness (DAF), merits additional attention. I do so by making two claims: First, that it does better than extant FittingAttitude accounts of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness; second, that it has an initial plausibility with respect to informing a general account of desert. While these reasons are insufficient to show the view is true, they do make the case for taking the view seriously. (shrink)
A rather promising value theory for environmental philosophers combines the well-known fittingattitude (FA) account of value with the rather less well-known account of value as richness. If the value of an entity is proportional to its degree of richness (which has been cashed out in terms of unified complexity and organic unity), then since natural entities, such as species or ecosystems, exhibit varying degrees of richness quite independently of what we happen to feel about them, they also (...) possess differing degrees of mind-independent and subject-independent value. In particular, their value is not dependent on the desires or preferences of humans. The fitting attitudes account of value, at least as it is standardly developed, demands isomorphic evaluative responses on the part of all valuers. In particular, it entails that all valuers should have isomorphic preferences. But this seems absurd. I consider three different strategies with which the fittingattitude theorist can deflect this challenge. The first makes use of an account of non-standard value relations in terms of permissible preference orderings. The second appeals to value appearances and the associated notions of value distance and value perspective. The third involves an account of the ultimate bearers of value as properties, rather than as propositions or states of affairs. These strategies are not all mutually incompatible. While it isn’t possible to combine the first and second strategies, it is possible to combine the first and third strategies, and also to combine the second and the third. (shrink)
“Sentiment” is a term of art, intended to refer to object-directed, irruptive states, that occur in relatively transient bouts involving positive or negative affect, and that typically involve a distinctive motivational profile. Not all the states normally called “emotions” are sentiments in the sense just characterized. And all the terms for sentiments are sometimes used in English to refer to longer lasting attitudes. But this discussion is concerned with boutish affective states, not standing attitudes. That poses some challenges that will (...) be my focus here. Rational sentimentalism is a cousin of fittingattitude theories of value, but other fittingattitude theories appeal to attitudes that are widely assumed to be governable by certain kinds of judgments. The basic challenge is this: are these boutish sentiments the sorts of things that we can and do regulate in the ways that are required for treating ‘shameful’, ‘funny’, ‘disgusting’ and the like as values? In what follows I briefly sketch some necessary conditions on treating something as a value, from which it emerges that treating sentimental values as values requires regulating the sentiments for fittingness. The rest of the paper is devoted to two ways of understanding how such regulation might work. I argue first that sentiments are susceptible to regulation by evaluative judgment, though perhaps not in quite the same way that philosophers have thought “judgment-sensitive attitudes” are regulated by judgment. I then suggest more tentatively that sentiments are also susceptible to regulation for fittingness in a different way: by educating sensibilities. (shrink)
According to Wlodek Rabinowicz's fitting-attitude analysis of comparative value, it is possible to analyse both standard and non-standard value relations in terms of the standard preference relations and two levels of normativity. In a recent article, however, Johan Gustafsson has argued that Rabinowicz's analysis violates a principle of valuepreference symmetry or he cannot make conceptual room for multiple permissible preferences.
In this paper, a distinctly subjectivist analysis of the nature of relational goodness or goodness for is proposed. Like the generic subjectivist analysis of value, the proposal is to analyse value in terms of attitudes. Specifically, the proposed analysis of goodness for appeals to a special kind of attitude: namely, so-called for-someone’s-sake attitudes. Unlike other analyses in the literature that have appealed to this kind of attitude, the analysis proposed here is not a fitting-attitude analysis. Rather (...) than appealing to for-someone’s-sake attitudes that it is fitting to have or that there are reasons to have, the proposed analysis takes actually held for-someone’s-sake attitudes to ground or constitute goodness for. The analysis should be attractive to those already within the subjectivist camp. One of its appeals is that it is a special case of a general subjectivist approach to values, thus showing that subjectivism provides the resources to analyse relational values. (shrink)
We respond to Conor McHugh's claim that an evaluative account of the normative relation between belief and truth is preferable to a prescriptive account. We claim that his arguments fail to establish this. We then draw a more general sceptical conclusion: we take our arguments to put pressure on any attempt to show that an evaluative account will fare better than a prescriptive account. We briefly express scepticism about whether McHugh's more recent ‘fittingattitude’ account fares better.
Error theories about practical deontic judgements claim that no substantive practical deontic judgement is true. Practical deontic judgements are practical in the sense that they concern actions, and they are deontic in the sense that they are about reasons, rightness, wrongness, and obligations. This paper assumes the truth of an error theory about practical deontic judgements in order to examine its ramifications. I defend three contentions. The first is that, if so-called fitting-attitude analyses of value fail, the truth (...) of some substantive evaluative judgements would not be threatened by the fact that no substantive practical deontic judgment is true. Secondly, in light of the truth of these evaluative judgements, the best thing we could do is to continue to make practical deontic judgements despite the truth of an error theory about practical deontic judgements. My third contention is that, if some evaluative judgements are unaffected by an error theory about practical deontic judgements, then such an error theory will eventually lead us to some version of consequentialism. (shrink)
In his article, “The Nature and Possibility of an Environmental Ethics,” Tom Regan says that the fittingattitude toward nature “is one of admiring respect.” What folIows is an attempt to discover what in nature should impel us to respond in this way. Ultimately I argue that the value of wild nature is found in the fact that it has emerged spontaneously, independent of human designs.
According to the fitting-attitude analysis of value , to be valuable is to be a fitting object of a pro-attitude. In earlier publications, setting off from this format of analysis, I proposed a modelling of value relations which makes room for incommensurability in value. In this paper, I first recapitulate the value modelling and then move on to suggest adopting a structurally similar analysis of probability. Indeed, many probability theorists from Poisson onwards did adopt an analysis (...) of this kind. This move allows to formally model probability and probability relations in essentially the same way as value and value relations. One of the advantages of the model is that we get a new account of Keynesian incommensurable probabilities, which goes beyond Keynes in distinguishing between different types of incommensurability. It also becomes possible to draw a clear distinction between incommensurability and vagueness in probability comparisons. (shrink)
Some attitudes typically take whole persons as their objects. Shame, contempt, disgust and admiration have this feature, as do many tokens of love and hate. Objectors complain that these ‘globalist attitudes’ can never fit their targets and thus can never be all-things-considered appropriate. Those who dismiss all globalist attitudes in this way are misguided. The fittingness objection depends on an inaccurate view of the person-assessments at the heart of the globalist attitudes. Once we understand the nature of globalist attitudes and (...) we recognize that we may legitimately treat some traits as more important than others in our overall evaluation of persons, we ought to conclude that our globalist attitudes can, in some cases, fit their targets and should not be summarily dismissed as unfitting. Our relationships contour the fittingness-conditions of globalist attitudes. This relational element poses a problem for fitting-attitude theories of value. (shrink)
I consider Antti Kauppinen’s recent proposal for solving the wrong kind of reasons problem for fittingattitude analyses through an appeal to the verdicts of ideal subjects. I present two problems for Kauppinen’s treatment of a foreseen objection, and construct a counterexample to his proposal as it applies to the wrong kind of reasons to admire someone. I then show how to construct similar counterexamples to his proposal as it applies to the wrong kind of reasons for other (...) attitudes, including guilt and shame. (shrink)