Is Ethics Transcendental?
I argue that value cannot be experienced without the accompaniment of some experience, and that there cannot be an object or a fact to which we attribute no value. The fundamental problem with transcendentalist arguments in ethics, as exemplified in the Kantian and Wittgensteinian accounts, is their incommensurability with facts, and hence their irrefutability by experiment. The view that one becomes conscious of value through sensations of pleasure and pain is generally considered as the antithesis of transcendentalism in morality. I consider the Epicurean account of morality as the archetypal form of the general approach to value in terms of a natural causality. Those philosophers who rejected the claims of transcendentalism in ethics have taken the human nature as a natural mechanism whose motions are pleasures and pains. Inner phenomena as thoughts and emotions, as pains and pleasures may appear different in kind than the barely natural, but the difference is blurred if we consider that they are all perceptions of the mind, and that they are known and governed by the same set of tools. Theoretical accounts of the barely natural and the psychical may both be erroneous, but this cannot be a reason to abstain from a causal account in the domain of value.