Better States of Affairs and Buck-Passing

Richard Kraut

in Against Absolute Goodness

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844463
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919550 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Moral Theory

Better States of Affairs and Buck-Passing

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This chapter continues the discussion from Chapter 16 and connects it with the earlier discussion of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. It argues that one state of affairs can be better than another without that betterness relation being grounded in differences with respect to absolute goodness. To use Scanlon's phrase, when we say that one state of affairs is better than another, we pass the buck of justification: we do not thereby reveal the basis for choosing one over the other, but merely advert to the existence of some such basis. So there is such a relation as one state of affairs being absolutely better than another. But we need some independent argument for the thesis that absolute goodness is a reason-giving property before we can reach the conclusion that whenever one state of affairs is better than another, the explanation must be that this property is more fully present in one case than the other.

Keywords: good; absolute goodness; Scanlon; value

Chapter.  1461 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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