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  1. Normative realism and Brentanian accounts of fittingness.Reuben Sass - 2023 - Synthese 202 (6):1-25.
    Brentano is often considered the originator of the fitting-attitudes analysis of value, on which to be valuable is to be that which it’s fitting to value. But there has been comparatively little attention paid to Brentano’s argument for this analysis. That argument advances the stronger claim that fittingness is part of the analysis of normativity. Since the argument rests on an analogy between truth and fittingness, its impact may seem limited by the idiosyncratic features of Brentano’s later notion of truth. (...)
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  2. Value Conservatism and Its Challenge to Consequentialism.Reuben Sass - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (3):337-352.
    G.A. Cohen’s value conservatism entails that we ought to preserve some existing sources of value in lieu of more valuable replacements, thereby repudiating maximizing consequentialism. Cohen motivates value conservatism through illustrative cases. The consequentialist, however, can explain many Cohen-style cases by taking extrinsic properties, such as historical significance, to be sources of final value. Nevertheless, it may be intuitive that there’s stronger reason to preserve than to promote certain sources of value, especially historically significant things. This motivates an argument that (...)
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  3. An ontology of weak entity realism for HPC kinds.Reuben Sass - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):11861-11880.
    This paper defends an ontology of weak entity realism for homeostatic property cluster (HPC) theories of natural kinds, adapted from Bird’s (Synthese 195(4):1397–1426, 2018) taxonomy of such theories. Weak entity realism about HPC kinds accepts the existence of natural kinds. Weak entity realism denies two theses: that (1) HPC kinds have mind-independent essences, and that (2) HPC kinds reduce to entities, such as complex universals, posited only by metaphysical theories. Strong entity realism accepts (1) and (2), whereas moderate entity realism (...)
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  4. How to minimize ontological commitments: a grounding-reductive approach.Reuben Sass - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-22.
    Some revisionary ontologies are highly parsimonious: they posit far fewer entities than what we quantify over in ordinary discourse. The most radical examples are minimal ontologies, on which physical simples are the only things that exist. Highly parsimonious ontologies, and especially minimal ones, face the challenge of either accounting for the truth of our ordinary quantificational discourse, or paraphrasing such discourse away. Common strategies for addressing this challenge include classical reduction, paraphrase nihilism, and a distinction between ontological and existence commitments. (...)
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