in Value, Reality, and Desire

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273416
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602658 | DOI:

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This chapter outlines two problems of knowledge which any cognitivist about value faces. One is the familiar problem of the motivational inertness of bare facts, and the knowledge of such facts. The other is the much less familiar problem of value data. The inertness problem can be approached through a puzzling asymmetry in value judgements, an asymmetry which can easily be explained by the internalist thesis that value judgements are special in being intrinsically or necessarily motivating. It is argued that there is a natural way for the cognitivist to explain the puzzling asymmetry, and it is one which simultaneously solves the problem of the missing data. The explanation appeals to two rather radical ideas. First, experiences of value are necessary, though not sufficient, for us to have knowledge of value. Second, desires are experiences of value. The conjunction of these two theses is referred to as the experience conjecture, and it is shown how it explains, inter alia, the puzzling asymmetry.

Keywords: cognitivist; bare facts; value data; motivational inertness; internalism; value judgements; puzzling asymmetry

Chapter.  7172 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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