A Troublesome Quartet

April 5, 2009

Based on the following line of thought, it seems to me that if one is a buck-passing existence-internalist who accepts a certain thesis about motivational diversity, then she or he should give up on one of those commitments or give up thinking that anything has intrinsic value. (There are other ways to frame the matter, of course.) But I’m not yet sure that the following line of thought is unproblematic. Feedback is welcome!

    P1: (Intrinsic Value) Something has intrinsic value. [In other words: Something is worthy of being valued (by anyone) for its own sake.]

    P2: (Fitting Attitudes Reduction) Something’s being worthy of being valued (by anyone) for its own sake just is for it to be such that there is reason for anyone to value it for its own sake.

    C1: So, there is something such that there is reason for anyone to value it for its own sake. (from P1 and P2)

    P3: (Existence-Internalist Thesis) For any thing X and any agent A, there is reason for A to value X for its own sake only if a (specified) X-related motivational fact about A obtains.

    P4: (Motivational Diversity) For any thing X, there is some possible agent A such that the (specified) X-related motivational fact about A does not obtain.

    C2: So, for any thing X, there is some possible agent A for whom there is not reason for A to value X for its own sake. (from P3 and P4)

    C3: So, it is not the case that there is something such that there is reason for anyone to value it for its own sake. (from C2)

    C4: So, C1 & C3 (Contradiction)

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