The Welfare-Nihilist Arguments Against Judgment Subjectivism

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One way to construe subjectivism about well-being is as the view that x is basically good for S if and only if, because, and to the extent that x is valued, under the proper conditions, by S. Dale Dorsey argues for an idealized, judgment-based theory of valuing, one according to which a person values a thing if and only if, because, and to the extent that she would believe, under the proper conditions, that it is basically good for herself. Call subjectivism about well-being coupled with a judgment-based theory of valuing judgment subjectivism. Judgment subjectivism is a remarkable theory, and Dorsey’s case for it is compelling. If the theory is true, then what is good for you is wholly determined by what you believe is good for you. It is somewhat surprising that it has not been the subject of much scrutiny. In this paper, I offer three related arguments against the theory. The arguments are about what judgment subjectivism implies about the well-being of welfare nihilists, people who believe that there aren’t any welfare properties or at least that none are instantiated. I maintain that welfare nihilists can be benefited and harmed. Judgment subjectivism is implausible because it implies otherwise.
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