Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 165, Issue 3, pp 1033–1046 | Cite as

Holism about value: some help for invariabilists

  • Daniel HallidayEmail author
Article
  • 269 Downloads

Abstract

G.E. Moore’s principle of organic unity holds that the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of the intrinsic values of its parts. Moore combined this principle with invariabilism about intrinsic value: An item’s intrinsic value depends solely on its bearer’s intrinsic properties, not on which wholes it has membership of. It is often said that invariabilism ought to be rejected in favour of what might be called ‘conditionalism’ about intrinsic value. This paper is an attempt to show how invariabilism might be filled out in ways that allow its proponents to answer their conditionalist opponents. The main point consists in identifying how some amount of extrinsic part-value may contribute to whole-value that is nevertheless intrinsic. This enables an invariabilist to explain how the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of its intrinsic part-values, without abandoning the Moorean doctrine that intrinsic value supervenes on intrinsic properties (the proposal is nevertheless consistent with the view that invariabilist and conditionalist accounts might exist side by side). I finish with a brief explanation of how the main proposal could help construct invariabilist accounts of particular organic unities, looking beyond the more general argument they have with conditionalists.

Keywords

Moore Holism Intrinsic value Extrinsic value Invariabilism Organic unity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Earlier versions of this paper were presented to audiences at Stanford University and the 11th conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, held at the University of Pisa. I’d like to thank those who attended for their helpful feedback. For valuable conversations and/or comments on earlier drafts, I’d also like to thank: Ralf Bader, William Beals, John Broome, Joshua Cohen, Thomas Dougherty, Guy Fletcher, Nadeem Hussain, Krista Lawlor, Gerard Vong, and Anna Wilkinson. The paper was also helped by the comments of an anonymous referee for Philosophical Studies.

References

  1. Bradley, B. (1998). Extrinsic value. Philosophical Studies, 91, 109–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradley, B. (2002). Is intrinsic value conditional? Philosophical Studies, 107, 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradley, B. (2006). Two concepts of intrinsic value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 9, 111–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Broome, J. (1991). Weighing goods. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, C. (2007). Two kinds of holism about values. The Philosophical Quarterly, 57(228), 456–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chisholm, R. (1986). Brentano and intrinsic value. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dancy, J. (2003). Are there organic unities? Ethics, 113(3), 629–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dancy, J. (2004). Ethics without principles. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dorsey, D. (2012). Intrinsic value and the supervenience principle. Philosophical Studies, 157, 267–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fletcher, G. (2008). The consistency of qualitative hedonism and the value of (at least some) malicious pleasures. Utilitas, 20, 462–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fletcher, G. (2010). Brown and Moore’s value invariabilism vs Dancy’s variabilism. The Philosophical Quarterly, 60(238), 162–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hurka, T. (1998). Two kinds of organic unity. The Journal of Ethics, 2, 299–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kagan, S. (1998). Rethinking intrinsic value. The Journal of Ethics, 2, 277–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Korsgaard, C. (1983). Two distinctions in goodness. (Reprinted in Creating the kingdom of ends, New York: Cambridge University Press.)Google Scholar
  15. Langton, R. (2007). Objective and unconditioned value. The Philosophical Review, 116, 157–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lemos, N. (1994). Intrinsic value: Concept and warrant. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lemos, N. (2006). Indeterminate value, basic value, and summation. In K. McDaniel, J. Raibley, R. Feldman, & M. Zimmerman (Eds.), The good, the right, life and death: Essays in honor of Fred Feldman. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Lewis, D. (1983). Extrinsic properties. Philosophical Studies, 44(2), 197–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moore, G.E. (1903). Principia Ethica. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Rabinowicz, W., & Ronnow-Rasmussen, T. (1999). A distinction in value: Intrinsic and for its own sake. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 100, 33–51.Google Scholar
  21. Zimmerman, M. (1999). Virtual intrinsic value and the principle of organic unities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 59, 653–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zimmerman, M. (2001). The nature of intrinsic value. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Historical and Philosophical StudiesUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations