From Valuing to Value: Towards a Defense of Subjectivism

ISBN : 9780198843887

David Sobel
320 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Subjective accounts of well-being and reasons for action have a remarkable pedigree. The idea that normativity flows from what an agent cares about-that something is valuable because it is valued-has appealed to a wide range of great thinkers. But at the same time this idea has seemed to many of the best minds in ethics to be outrageous or worse, not least because it seems to threaten the status of morality. Mutual incomprehension looms over the discussion. From Valuing to Value, written by an influential former critic of subjectivism, owns up to the problematic features to which critics have pointed while arguing that such criticisms can be blunted and the overall view rendered defensible. In this collection of his essays David Sobel does not shrink from acknowledging the real tension between subjective views of reasons and morality, yet argues that such a tension does not undermine subjectivism. In this volume the fundamental commitments of subjectivism are clarified and revealed to be rather plausible and well-motivated, while the most influential criticisms of subjectivism are straightforwardly addressed and found wanting.


1 Subjectivism and Reasons to be Moral
2 Full Information Accounts of Well-Being
3 On the Subjectivity of Welfare
4 Well-Being as the Object of Moral Consideration
5 Do the Desires of Rational Agents Converge?
6 Subjective Accounts of Reasons for Action
7 Explanation, Internalism, and Reasons for Action
8 (co-authored with David Copp): Against Direction of Fit Accounts of Belief and Desire
9 Varieties of Hedonism
10 (co-authored with David Copp): Morality and Virtue
11 Pain for Objectivists: The Case of Matters of Mere Taste
12 The Impotence of the Demandingness Objection
13 Subjectivism and Idealization
14 Parfit s Case Against Subjectivism
15 Subjectivism and Proportionalism


David Sobel is Guttag Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy at Syracuse University. Much of his research has reflected an abiding interest in understanding and defending desire-based or subjectivist accounts of well-being and reasons for action. With Peter Vallentyne and Steven Wall he co-edits Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy.