Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 513–535

Reasons and Value – in Defence of the Buck-Passing Account



In this article, I will defend the so-called “buck-passing” theory of value. According to this theory, claims about the value of an object refer to the reason-providing properties of the object. The concept of value can thus be analyzed in terms of reasons and the properties of objects that provide them for us. Reasons in this context are considerations that count in favour of certain attitudes. There are four other possibilities of how the connection between reasons and value might be formulated. For example, we can claim that value is a property that provides us with reasons to choose an option that has this property. I argue that none of these four other options can ultimately be defended, and therefore the buck-passing account is the one we ought to accept as the correct one. The case for the buck-passing account becomes even stronger, when we examine the weak points of the most pressing criticism against this account thus far.

Key Words

buck-passing account normative concepts practical rationality reasons theory of action value 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Moral PhilosophyUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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