Aspects of Value

A. E. Denham

in Metaphor and Moral Experience

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198240105
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680076 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Aspects of Value

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The analogy between experience of value and experience of secondary qualities raises as many questions as it answers. This chapter suggests that moral experience, like much perceptual experience, is ‘aspectual’; that is, it presents us with organised, complex wholes which can only with difficulty (if at all) be dissected into their component parts. It also explores whether there is any arena of perceptual experience that can sustain an analogy with moral experience, while yet respecting the judgement-dependence of moral concepts. Moral values themselves are quite unlike physical objects; after all, it was largely their remoteness from the objects of the physical sciences that motivated the analogy with secondary qualities in the first place. A very apt analogy is to be found in the perception of pictures. This chapter ends by considering three difficulties associated with the secondary-quality model: the non-sensory character of moral experience, the rational relations of moral properties to the natural ones on which they supervene, and the contestability of moral judgements.

Keywords: moral values; moral experience; secondary qualities; perception; pictures; moral judgements; moral properties

Chapter.  18740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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