Philosophia 41 (4):1237-1251 (2013)

Francesco Orsi
University of Tartu
This paper critically examines Richard Kraut’s attack on the notion of absolute value, and lays out some of the conceptual work required to defend such a notion. The view under attack claims that absolute goodness is a property that provides a reason to value what has it. Kraut’s overall challenge is that absolute goodness cannot play this role. Kraut’s own view is that goodness-for, instead, plays the reason-providing role. My targets are Kraut’s double-counting objection, and his ethical objection against absolute value. After explaining the double-counting objection, and discussing the idea of non-additive reasons, I examine and reject Kraut’s reasons for holding that nonadditivity can rescue relative value but not absolute value. I proceed then to explore a different reply to the double-counting objection by introducing a distinction between normative reasons for action and reasons that explain why a certain consideration is a reason for action. Such a distinction (hinted at by Kraut) would either help both Kraut and the friend of absolute value, or neither of them. I defend the distinction from the objection that it would make absolute value just a ‘shadow’. Finally, I reply to Kraut’s ethical objection that being motivated by absolute value is depersonalizing, on two grounds: 1) if thinking in terms of absolute value depersonalizes relationships, then we have absolute-value-given reasons not to think in those terms; 2) the distinction between normative and explanatory reasons explains why even a motivation centred on absolute value need not be depersonalizing
Keywords Absolute goodness  Buck-passing  Good for  Non-additivity  Moore
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-013-9454-1
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Personal Value.Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen - 2011 - Oxford University Press.

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