Fitting attitudes and welfare

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3:47-73 (2008)
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present a new argument against so-called fitting attitude 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.

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Chris Heathwood
University of Colorado, Boulder

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Value in ethics and economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.

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