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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Value in Ethics and Economics
1993, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Summary: Elizabeth Anderson offers a new theory of value and rationality that rejects cost-benefit analysis in our social lives and in our ethical theories. This account of the plurality of values thus offers a new approach, beyond welfare economics and traditional theories of justice, for assessing the ethical limitations of the market. In this light, Anderson discusses several contemporary controversies involving the proper scope of the market, including commercial surrogate motherhood, privatization of public services, and the application of cost-benefit analysis to issues of environmental protection.

Comment: This book as a whole would be an excellent addition to an upper level course on morals and markets. The last three chapters (7-9) cover a number of applied issues in economics and ethics. Chapter 8, “Is Women’s Labor a Commodity” would be an especially good addition to a course on business ethics or biomedical ethics that discusses paid surrogacy.

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Douglas, Heather, , . Inductive Risk and Values in Science
2000, Philosophy of Science 67(4): 559-579.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: Although epistemic values have become widely accepted as part of scientific reasoning, non-epistemic values have been largely relegated to the “external” parts of science (the selection of hypotheses, restrictions on methodologies, and the use of scientific technologies). I argue that because of inductive risk, or the risk of error, non-epistemic values are required in science wherever non-epistemic consequences of error should be considered. I use examples from dioxin studies to illustrate how non-epistemic consequences of error can and should be considered in the internal stages of science: choice of methodology, characterization of data, and interpretation of results.

Comment: A good challenge to the “value-free” status of science, interrogating some of the assumptions about scientific methodology. Uses real-world examples effectively. Suitable for undergraduate teaching.

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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical
2001, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: To “look good” and to “be good” have traditionally been considered two very different notions. Indeed, philosophers have seen aesthetic and ethical values as fundamentally separate. Now, at the crossroads of a new wave of aesthetic theory, Marcia Muelder Eaton introduces this groundbreaking work, in which a bold new concept of merit where being good and looking good are integrated into one.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Hanson, Louise, , . The Reality of (Non-Aesthetic) Value
2013, Philosophical Quaterly 63(252): 492-508.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: It has become increasingly common for philosophers to make use of the concept of artistic value, and, further, to distinguish artistic value from aesthetic value. In a recent paper, ‘The Myth of (Non-Aesthetic) Artistic Value’, Dominic Lopes takes issue with this, presenting a kind of corrective to current philosophical practice regarding the use of the concept of artistic value. Here I am concerned to defend current practice against Lopes’s attack. I argue that there is some unclarity as to what aspect of this practice Lopes is objecting to, and I distinguish three kinds of objection that he could be read as making. I argue that none of these is adequately supported by Lopes’s arguments, and that the corresponding three aspects of current philosophical practice are on firmer footing than Lopes’s paper suggests. A new, plausible characterisation of artistic value will emerge from this discussion.

Comment: This paper would be useful for undergrads and postgrads studying and questioning the difference between aesthetic value and artistic value, the dependence relation between features of works and their value, and generally the metaphysical basis of value in art. Hanson is very clear about her argumentative strategy. This makes the paper a prime example of good philosophical methodology.

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Heuer, Ulrike, , . Beyond Wrong Reasons: The Buck-Passing Account of Value
2010, in Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. 166-184.
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Added by: Graham Bex-Priestley, Contributed by:

Abstract: In section I, I will show that the Buck-Passing Account (BPA) is not as obviously a successor of the fitting-attitude analysis (for short: FA analysis) of value as some have thought. The much discussed wrong-kind-of-reasons (for short: WKR) problem afflicts buck-passing only in so far as it incorporates a version of Fitting Attitude (FA) analysis, or at any rate is expressed in terms of reasons for attitudes. There can be a buck-passing account of value which is not affected by the problem: one that limits the account to reasons for actions. However, insofar as BPA does inherit elements of FA analysis, it also has a WKR problem. In section II, I will discuss this problem and its solution. I will show that it has been misidentified in the current literature, and that – once we understand the problem correctly – its solution is likely to be unavailable to the buck-passer. Hence we should reject any account of BPA that incorporates FA analysis. That leaves us with versions which do not: versions that formulate BPA+ in terms of reasons for actions only, rather than reasons for attitudes. Finally, in section III, I will discuss at least briefly why buck-passing seemed to be appealing to begin with, and whether a version of BPA that does not incorporate FA analysis is a viable contender of the account – beyond the WKR problem.

Comment: Heuer argues in depth against the buck-passing account of value. She charges it with ruling out various theories, such as deontological theories of ethics and Williams-style reasons internalism, by fiat. Since many substantial areas are touched upon, such as ‘fitting attitudes’ and ‘wrong kinds of reason’ arguments, this text is best used as further reading for students who may want to write a related essay.

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Korsgaard, Christine, , . On Having a Good
2014, Philosophy 89(3): 405-29.
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Added by: Graham Bex-Priestley, Contributed by:

Abstract: In some recent papers I have been arguing that the concept ‘good-for’ is prior to the concept of ‘good’ (in the sense in which final ends are good), and exploring the implications of that claim. One of those implications is that everything that is good is good for someone. That implication seems to fall afoul of our intuitions about certain cases, such as the intuition that a world full of happy people and animals is better than a world full of miserable ones, even if the people and animals are different in the two cases, so that there is no one for whom the second world is better. Such cases tempt people to think that there must be impersonal goods, and that what it means to say that something is good for you is that you are the one who ‘has’ some impersonal good. In this paper, I argue that if we approach things in this way, it is impossible to say what the ‘having’ consists of, what relation it names. This leads me to a discussion of various things we do mean by saying that something is good for someone, how they are related to each other, and what sorts of entities can ‘have a good.’ Finally, I explain why we think that a world full of happy people and animals is better than a world full of miserable ones, even if the people and animals are different in the two cases.

Comment: This is a fairly accessible piece arguing that the concept of ‘good-for’ is prior to ‘good’, such that nothing is good unless it is good for someone. It is useful for discussions about the sources of value.

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Longino, Helen, , . Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry
1990, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Conventional wisdom has it that the sciences, properly pursued, constitute a pure, value-free method of obtaining knowledge about the natural world. In light of the social and normative dimensions of many scientific debates, Helen Longino finds that general accounts of scientific methodology cannot support this common belief. Focusing on the notion of evidence, the author argues that a methodology powerful enough to account for theories of any scope and depth is incapable of ruling out the influence of social and cultural values in the very structuring of knowledge. The objectivity of scientific inquiry can nevertheless be maintained, she proposes, by understanding scientific inquiry as a social rather than an individual process. Seeking to open a dialogue between methodologists and social critics of the sciences, Longino develops this concept of “contextual empiricism” in an analysis of research programs that have drawn criticism from feminists. Examining theories of human evolution and of prenatal hormonal determination of “gender-role” behavior, of sex differences in cognition, and of sexual orientation, the author shows how assumptions laden with social values affect the description, presentation, and interpretation of data. In particular, Longino argues that research on the hormonal basis of “sex-differentiated behavior” involves assumptions not only about gender relations but also about human action and agency. She concludes with a discussion of the relation between science, values, and ideology, based on the work of Habermas, Foucault, Keller, and Haraway.

Comment: Longino offers a way to accomodate critiques of science as being socially constructed with the claim that science is objective. This contextual empiricism is an interesting solution, and would provide a useful point of discussion in an exploration of these issues in a course that discusses scientific objectivity.

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McShane, Katie, , . Neosentimentalism and Environmental Ethics
2011, Environmental Ethics, 33 (1): 5-23.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Neosentimentalism provides environmental ethics with a theory of value that might be particularly useful for solving many of the problems that have plagued the field since its early days. In particular, a neosentimentalist understanding of value offers us hope for making sense of (1) what intrinsic value might be and how we could know whether parts of the natural world have it; (2) the extent to which value is an essentially anthropocentric concept; and (3) how our understanding of value could be compatible with both a respectable naturalism and a robust normativity.

Comment: This reading is could be used well as a response to Rolston or Callicott’s versions of environmental value. The article also covers a number of problems endemic to formal value theory (especially a neosentimentalist theory of the nature of value). It would work best in an upper level undergraduate course on value theory or environmental ethics.

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Swanton, Christine, , . A Virtue Ethical Account of Right Action
2001, Ethics 112(1): 32-52.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Introduction: It is a common view of virtue ethics that it emphasizes the evaluation of agents and downplays or ignores the evaluation of acts, especially their evaluation as right or wrong. Despite this view, some contemporary proponents of virtue ethics have explicitly offered a virtue ethical criterion of the right, contrasting that criterion with Kantian and consequentialist criteria. I too believe that though the virtues themselves require excellence in affective and motivational states, they can also provide the basis of accounts of rightness of actions, where the criteria for rightness can deploy notions of success extending beyond such agent-centered excellences. They can do this, I shall claim, through the notion of the target or aim of a virtue. This notion can provide a distinctively virtue ethical notion of rightness of actions. In this article I make two basic assumptions: first, that a virtue ethical search for a virtue ethical criterion of rightness is an appropriate search, and second, since virtue ethics in modern guise is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, more work needs to be done in the exploration of virtue ethical criteria of the right.

Comment: This paper attempts to develop virtue ethics by outlining a way that a clear concept of right action can form a part of it, as well as describing and addressing some of the gaps in modern virtue ethics. It would be useful as part of an in-depth examination of virtue ethics, either in a course on normative ethics or perhaps as a look at how the virtue ethics of the ancients could be adapted to be relevant for modern society. Though it requires some background knowledge of virtue ethics, in a context where that has been provided it would be suitable for undergraduate students.

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Wolf, Susan, , . Asymmetrical freedom
1980, Journal of Philosophy 77(3): 151-166.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Diversifying Syllabi: Thesis: interesting and sophisticated position compatibilist position in the debate about free will and determinism. Slogan: To be free is to be determined by the Good. The claim is that if we do the right thing for the right reasons, then we are free – in the sense that is required by moral responsibility – even if we are determined. But if we do the wrong thing, then we are free and morally responsible only if we are not determined (i.e. if we could have done otherwise).

Comment: This text offers an interesting discussion of the issue of free will and determinism, and its relation to moral responsibility. It is best used in teaching metaphysics and moral philosophy classes on those topics. It offers some review of the debate, but is not general enough to be used as an introduction. It can also be used in more specific classes in ethics, focusing on moral luck or blameworthiness.

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Zagzebski, Linda, , . The Search for the Source of the Epistemic Good
2003, Metaphilosophy 34(1-2): 12-28.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: Knowledge has almost always been treated as good, better than mere true belief, but it is remarkably difficult to explain what it is about knowledge that makes it better. I call this “the value problem.” I have previously argued that most forms of reliabilism cannot handle the value problem. In this article I argue that the value problem is more general than a problem for reliabilism, infecting a host of different theories, including some that are internalist. An additional problem is that not all instances of true belief seem to be good on balance, so even if a given instance of knowing p is better than merely truly believing p, not all instances of knowing will be good enough to explain why knowledge has received so much attention in the history of philosophy. The article aims to answer two questions: What makes knowingp better than merely truly believing p? The answer involves an exploration of the connection between believing and the agency of the knower. Knowing is an act in which the knower gets credit for achieving truth. What makes some instances of knowing good enough to make the investigation of knowledge worthy of so much attention? The answer involves the connection between the good of believing truths of certain kinds and a good life. In the best kinds of knowing, the knower not only gets credit for getting the truth but also gets credit for getting a desirable truth. The kind of value that makes knowledge a fitting object of extensive philosophical inquiry is not independent of moral value and the wider values of a good life.

Comment: This paper nicely elucidates different respects of the value problem about knowledge and enriches the debate by bringing multiple resources and perspectives into consideration, such as the agency of the knower and the wider value of good life. It is good for teachings on epistemic values in an epistemology course at either an advanced or introductory level.

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