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Title: Values, Reasons, & Ought
Authors: Maguire, Barry
Advisors: Rosen, Gideon A
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Ought
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation presents a systematic account of the explanatory relations between our most basic evaluative and normative notions: values, reasons, and ought. I defend three central theses. The first thesis, the value-based theory of reasons, maintains that for some fact to be a reason for you to X is for that fact to constitute or explain the fact that your X-ing would realise some state of affairs that is valuable. The fact that giving flowers to Alfred will make him happy is a reason to do so, since his happiness is valuable. The second thesis concerns the weight of reasons. The weight of any reason is an increasing function of the amount of value likely to be realised, and the value of your having a pro-attitude towards that value. In this case the value of the pro-attitude will be explained by the nature of your relationship with Alfred. Importantly, while values are neutral, weighted reasons are always relative. The positive account vindicates deontological intuitions about partiality, integrity, and commitment, and virtue-theoretic intuitions about the value and normative significance of attitudes and the live well-lived. The third thesis, the reasons-based theory of ought, maintains that for some X to be what you ought to do, all things considered, is for the net weight of the reasons in favour of X to be greater than the net weight of the reasons in favour of any alternative to X. So if your reasons to give flowers to Alfred are weightier than your reasons to go apple- picking with Mildred, and weightier than your reasons to do anything else, then you ought to give flowers to Alfred.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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