Metaphysics and Epistemology Group (Tuesday - Week 3, MT23)

epistemology reading group

Subjectivism about personal value has a lot of things going for it. For value to be personal it must resonate, it seems, with the cares and concerns of the subject. In holding that value depends on valuing, subjectivism would account for this resonance constraint. And in taking valuing, a psychological activity, to determine normative facts about value, it also offers the prospect of a naturalistic account of normativity. However, subjectivism faces the problem of mistakes. People can value what’s not valuable for them, and subjectivism must be able to accommodate this. Extant subjectivisms, I argue, can’t. Either they don’t allow for mistakes, or they fail to be naturalistic. I offer a new form of subjectivism that treats personal value as an artifact, where the nature of this evaluative artifact is offloaded onto worldly structure. Thus, someone’s valuing determines what’s valuable for them, but this valuing needn’t perfectly correspond to the value it creates, thereby allowing for mistakes in a fully naturalistic framework. 

Metaphysics and Epistemology Group Convenors: Bernhard Salow, Nick Jones and Alex Kaiserman