Promoting Value As Such

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):392-416 (2013)
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Without needing to commit to any specific claims about what states of affairs have most agent-neutral value, we can nevertheless predict that states of affairs which are relatively valuable are also relatively likely to occur—on the grounds that, all else equal, at least some other agents are likely to recognize the value of those states of affairs, pursue them because they are valuable, and successfully bring them about as a consequence of that pursuit. This gives us a way to promote value as such, rather than promoting it under some more tendentious description. We can predict that actions which help other people—or our own future selves—to recognize valuable states of affairs, actions which motivate them to pursue whatever states of affairs they believe to be valuable, or actions which help them succeed at their pursuits will, all else equal, have positive consequences. So we have a pro tanto reason to take such actions, and the subjective justification of that reason is independent of other moral claims



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Evan Gregg Williams
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh