Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit

In Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. OUP (2023)
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Abstract

It is tempting to think that all of normativity, such as our reasons for action, what we ought to do, and the attitudes that it is fitting for us to have, derives from what is valuable. But value-first approaches to normativity have fallen out of favour as the virtues of reasons- and fittingness-first approaches to normativity have become clear. On these views, value is not explanatorily prior to reasons and fit; rather the value of things is understood in terms of the pro-attitudes it is fitting to have, or that we have reasons to have, towards these things. The value-first accounts of reasons and fit that have been proposed have been direct accounts of reasons and fit. On these views, the fittingness of an attitude is explained in terms of the value of having it or the value of the object of that attitude. This chapter details and surveys these problems, explaining which are yet to be overcome, and explaining which problems direct value-first accounts can overcome. This chapter then explores the prospects of an indirect value-first account of reasons and fit. It argues that it avoids the problems that direct value-first accounts face and may be as explanatorily powerful as fittingness- and reasons-first accounts of value and normativity more generally.

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