Journal Article

Brentano and the Buck-Passers

Sven Danielsson and Jonas Olson

in Mind

Published on behalf of Mind Association

Volume 116, issue 463, pages 511-522
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 0026-4423
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2113 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzm511
Brentano and the Buck-Passers

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  • Metaphysics
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According to T. M. Scanlon's 'buck-passing' analysis of value, x is good means that x has properties that provide reasons to take up positive attitudes vis-à-vis x. Some authors have claimed that this idea can be traced back to Franz Brentano, who said in 1889 that the judgement that x is good is the judgement that a positive attitude to x is correct ('richtig'). The most discussed problem in the recent literature on buck-passing is known as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem (the WKR problem): it seems quite possible that there is sometimes reason to favour an object although that object is not good and possibly very evil. The problem is to delineate exactly what distinguishes reasons of the right kind from reasons of the wrong kind. In this paper we offer a Brentano-style solution. We also note that one version of the WKR problem was put forward by G. E. Moore in his review of the English translation of Brentano's Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis. Before getting to how our Brentano-style approach might offer a way out for Brentano and the buck-passers, we briefly consider and reject an interesting attempt to solve the WKR problem recently proposed by John Skorupski.

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Subjects: Metaphysics ; Epistemology ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Language

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