Perceptible Value: Toward a Weak Realist Account of Moral Properties

dc.contributor.advisorYurdin, Joel
dc.contributor.authorJensen, Luke
dc.date.accessioned2016-08-22T14:31:21Z
dc.date.available2016-08-22T14:31:21Z
dc.date.issued2016
dc.description.abstractRealists and anti-realists about value acknowledge that we have and talk about evaluative experiences, but the status of our experiences and talk is contentious. What is up for debate is whether such experiences are necessarily illusory (anti-realism) or are, at least sometimes, perceptual (realism). This paper aims to extend McDowell’s work on value into an account of moral properties according to which moral properties are real, perceptible as such, internally related to the will, and for us. I articulate the context in which this account is built by mapping the dialectics among four broad positions in meta-ethics along two general dimensions: 1) how each position construes moral concepts, and 2) how each construes moral properties. I utilize Dancy’s distinction between intrinsically motivating states and necessarily motivating states to develop an account of moral error, weakness of will, and how actions come to bear moral properties that blurs two separate but interrelated oppositions between fact and value, and between reasons and motivations. In so doing I reject a Cartesian view of the relation between Mind and World and the classical Humean theory of action. This requires problematizing McDowell’s dispositional account of value, and thereby his account for the perceptibility of value based on a primary/secondary quality model, which, I argue already concedes too much to the Humean-Cartesian anti-realists. Finally, I argue, contra Dancy, that from these considerations it follows that a perceptual model is useful for ethics for two reasons: 1) the objects of perception provide the model for the reality of moral properties, and 2) as the most familiar non-inferential mode of access to the world, it is by analogy to perception that we understand our other non-inferential modes of access to the moral features of particular situations.
dc.description.sponsorshipHaverford College. Department of Philosophy
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10066/18825
dc.language.isoeng
dc.rights.accessDark Archive
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.titlePerceptible Value: Toward a Weak Realist Account of Moral Properties
dc.typeThesis
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