Value Pluralism versus Value Monism

Acta Analytica 38 (4):627-652 (2023)
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Value pluralism is the metaphysical thesis that there is a plurality of values at the fundamental level of the evaluative domain. Value monism, on the other hand, is the claim that there is just one fundamental value. Pluralists, it is commonly argued, have an edge over monists when it comes to accounting for the conspicuous heterogeneity of the evaluative domain and the rationality of regretting well-justified decisions. Monists, in turn, seem to provide a far more plausible account of rational evaluative decision-making. I argue that the impression of a theoretical stalemate, which is suggested by the exchange of those arguments, is premature. An assessment of the sub-positions in both camps, in conjunction with an analysis of value fundamentality based on the notion of grounding, reveals that certain versions of pluralism and monism—which I call moderate positions—can counter the respective objections. Thus, moderate value pluralism and moderate value monism emerge as the strongest positions in both camps. I conclude that the further debate should center around those two positions.



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Grounding: Toward a Theory of the I n-Virtue-Of Relation.Paul Audi - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (12):685-711.
Grounding Explanations.Louis deRosset - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
By Our Bootstraps.Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):27-41.
The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.

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