This section presents several applications of the fitting-attitudes (FA) analysis, which aims to reduce value to fitting responses.Footnote 7 This focus makes sense given the clarity and precision of the FA analysis and the fact that it can elucidate the structure and behaviour of relevant attitudes in a way that will be helpful. As well as lending support to the examples mentioned in the previous section, the FA analysis will suggest how to account for the types of value they involve. The extent to which the views defended here really end up being dependent on the FA analysis will be discussed later. Until then an object should be taken to have value just in case it is the fitting object of a response of some sort. When applied to the distinction between final and instrumental value, the FA analysis is standardly taken to yield the following:
F: X has final goodness =df it is fitting to favour X for its own sake.
I: X has instrumental goodness =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of its effects.
As is the custom in these contexts, favouring should be a placeholder for a positive response. This response could take the form of a non-doxastic attitude like admiring, respecting or loving. It could also take the form of an action, such as protecting, promoting or preserving. If we are curious about how things would look if we were to focus on badness, the analyses featured in this section can easily be modified. All we would have to do is to replace any mention of goodness with badness and any mention of favouring with disfavouring.Footnote 8 As a next step, then, let us consider how the FA analysis might be applied to value in a way.Footnote 9 One application proceeds from the intuition that value in a way cannot be understood without reference to a certain sort of choice situation:
KS: X is good as a K =df it is fitting to favour X on condition that S (K).
PS: X is good for P =df it is fitting to favour X on condition that S (P).
S (K) could perhaps be taken to specify the situation of our choosing or recommending a K. This makes it tempting to understand the favouring referred to by KS in similar terms as either the choice or recommendation of X. Making sense of personal value in this manner is admittedly not quite as straightforward. Perhaps S (P) could be taken to specify the situation of our choosing something which is conducive to the health or happiness of P. This would make it tempting to understand the favouring referred to by PS in similar terms as either the choice or recommendation of X.Footnote 10 This means that an object is a good toaster just in case it is the fitting object of a choice or recommendation, given that we are choosing or recommending a toaster. An object is good for someone’s sake just in case it is the fitting object of a choice or recommendation, given that we are choosing something that is conducive to the health or happiness of the person in question.Footnote 11
Before we move on it is also important to note that the logical character of conditional favourings does not quite reflect the logic of material conditionals. To say that we favour an object on condition that something is the case is not to say that if something is the case, then we favour the object. Whenever we favour something on condition that something is the case we actually favour it. If the circumstances in question do not obtain, then all that happens is that the favouring misfires or becomes void in some way.Footnote 12 When the favouring consists in acts like choosing or recommending an object, this is not difficult to make sense of. For example, it seems reasonable to suggest that the circumstances obtaining will then constitute a felicity condition for the acts in question. Philosophers have a fairly good idea about how such conditions are to be understood and so when we look to acts like choosing or recommending an object, conditional favourings need not be as mysterious as appearances might suggest.
When a conditional favouring consists of attitudes, on the other hand, things are less straightforward, for these are not typically taken to be subject to conditions in this way. One obvious way of dealing with conditional attitudes would be to reduce them to non-conditional attitudes. For example, perhaps the favouring of X given that S (K) can be reduced to a preference for the state of affairs [X being chosen when S (K)] over the state of affairs [X not being chosen when S (K)].Footnote 13 The problem here is that this pattern of analysis is also subject to the misdirection objection. It reduces the value of X to a fitting response which is directed toward a very complex state of affairs of which X is a mere part. The result would seem to be that it is the relative values of these complex states of affairs that we are capturing, rather than the value of X as such. We shall return to this issue in the next section, but let us first consider the following variations on KS and PS:
KFC: X is a finally good K =df it is fitting to favour X for its own sake on condition that S (K).
KIC: X is an instrumentally good K =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of its effects on condition that S (K).
PFC: X is finally personally good for P =df it is fitting to favour X for its own sake on condition that S (P).
PIC: X is instrumentally personally good for P =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of its effects on condition that S (P).
KFC and KIC are both meant to capture the general notion of being good as a kind of thing, but in a final or instrumental way. KFC captures the concept of final-kind value while KIC captures the concept of instrumental-kind value. PFC and PIC are meant to capture the general notion of being good for a person, but in a final and instrumental way. PFC captures the concept of final-personal value while PIC captures the concept of instrumental-personal value. Of course, if we do not share the intuition that value in a way cannot be understood without reference to a certain sort of choice situation, none of these analyses will seem very attractive. For this reason, it is perhaps worth considering what would follow if we took a somewhat simpler route. More specifically, we may want to consider the possibility that we can favour something as a kind of thing or for someone’s sake without ever adopting a conditional favouring. We thereby avoid the need to provide for an understanding of how attitudes could be subject to conditions in a way similar to acts such as choosing or recommending an object:
KS: X is good as a K =df it is fitting to favour X as a K.
PS: X is good for P =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of P.
These analyses are simple in that they do not rely on any notion of conditional favouring. Instead, they treat the favourings called for by value in a way as a special type of attitude, placed on equal footing with any other type of attitude we might direct on to the world. This means that the notion of favouring an object as a kind of thing or for someone’s sake is taken for granted rather than reduced to something which might currently be more familiar in philosophy.Footnote 14 Rønnow-Rasmussen (2007, 2011: 47–48) is among the philosophers to endorse a version of PS, while Skorupski (2010: 84–86) endorses some version of both KS and PS. The question is whether these simple analyses are amenable to further development which makes the subject to the distinction between final and instrumental value. The answer seems to be that they are. In fact, whenever an analysis of value is couched in terms of some set of discerning attitudes, it seems that the attitudes in question can always be made more discerning in this way:
KFS: X is a finally good K =df it is fitting to favour X for its own sake as a K.
KIS: X is an instrumentally good K =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of its effects as a K.
PFS: X is finally good for P =df it is fitting to favour X for its own sake for the sake of P.
PIS: X is instrumentally good for P =df it is fitting to favour X for the sake of its effects for P.
Again, KFS and KIS are both meant to capture the general notion of being good as a kind of thing, but in final or instrumental way. KFS captures the concept of final-kind value while KIS captures the concept of instrumental-kind value. PFS and PIS are meant to capture the general notion of being good for a person, but in a final or instrumental way. PFS captures the concept of final-personal value while PIS captures the concept of instrumental-personal value.Footnote 15 Rønnow-Rasmussen (2011: 57–59) endorses versions of FPS and PIS, but no philosopher seems to have explicitly endorsed KFS or KIS. Now, the present analytic endeavour could go on indefinitely, since countless variations on the basic ideas presented here seem to invite themselves. The analyses mentioned so far, however, should suffice to illustrate the crucial point: that there are attitudes that mirror the structure of the types of value purportedly exemplified in Section 3. In fact, it seems plausible that whenever we look at value in a way from the perspective of fitting attitudes, there is always a way to understand the relevant favourings in more discerning terms, so that they incorporate a final or instrumental character.
The objection might therefore be made that the views defended here rely too heavily on the idea that value is reducible to fitting responses. Against this idea, it is often observed that there can be reasons to favour objects that are not good, just like there can be reasons to disfavour objects that are not bad.Footnote 16 The most popular example that is meant to illustrate the problem comes from Crisp (2000) and involves a case where we are forced to admire a worthless object on pain of dire consequences. The intuition is that in such a case we may very well have reasons to admire the object, without it being admirable. Examples that are closer to everyday life are not difficult to find: It seems reasonable to suppose that it is fitting for parents to love their own children more than the children of others, yet this does not mean that their children are more loveable (Orsi 2015: 144–145). Many sophisticated attempts have been made to solve the problem, but none of them have enjoyed widespread acceptance among philosophers.Footnote 17
We cannot consider all the variations on the objection just mentioned, or the many sophisticated responses that they have inspired, so it is fortunate that we do not need to. In fact, the argument presented in the previous section does not rely too heavily on the idea that value is reducible to fitting responses. It has just been shown that there are attitudes that mirror the structure of the values exemplified in the Section 3. This indicates that it should be possible to favour objects either as kinds of things or for someone’s sake, but in such a way that we also favour them as such for their own sakes or for the sake of their effects. Moreover, the examples given in Section 3 also indicate that there are cases where it is even fitting to favour objects in this manner. These considerations seem to speak heavily in favour of the view that value in a way is also subject to the distinction between final and instrumental value. However, it is true that if the FA analysis is unsound, then those considerations may not conclusively establish the view that value in a way can come in the final and instrumental form.Footnote 18