Two kinds of holism about values

Brown, C. (2007) Two kinds of holism about values. Philosophical Quarterly, 57(228), pp. 456-463. (doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2007.490.x)

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I compare two kinds of holism about values: G.E. Moore's ‘organic unities’, and Jonathan Dancy's ‘value holism’. I propose a simple formal model for representing evaluations of parts and wholes. I then define two conditions, additivism and invariabilism, which together imply a third, atomism. Since atomism is absurd, we must reject one of the former two conditions. This is where Moore and Dancy part company: whereas Moore rejects additivism, Dancy rejects invariabilism. I argue that Moore's view is more plausible. Invariabilism ought to be retained because (a) it eliminates the needless multiplication of values inherent in variable evaluations, and (b) it preserves a certain necessary connection between values and reasons, which Dancy himself endorses.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brown, Dr Campbell
Authors: Brown, C.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Philosophical Quarterly
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
Published Online:07 March 2007

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