The Normative and the Evaluative: The Buck-Passing Account of Value

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Oxford University Press, Feb 7, 2019 - Philosophy - 256 pages
Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on some of the problems that the buck-passing account faces, such as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem. Less attention, however, has been paid as to why we should accept the buck-passing account or what the theoretical pay-offs and other implications of accepting it are. The Normative and the Evaluative provides the first comprehensive motivation and defence of the buck-passing account of value. Richard Rowland argues that the buck-passing account explains several important features of the relationship between reasons and value, as well as the relationship between the different varieties of value, in a way that its competitors do not. He shows that alternatives to the buck-passing account are inconsistent with important views in normative ethics, uninformative, and at odds with the way in which we should see practical and epistemic normativity as related. In addition, he extends the buck-passing account to provide an account of moral properties as well as all other normative and deontic properties and concepts, such as fittingness and 'ought', in terms of reasons.

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About the author (2019)

Richard Rowland is Research Fellow in Moral Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University. He obtained his PhD from the University of Reading in 2014. Before coming to ACU in Melbourne, he held temporary positions at the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick, and a permanent position at La Trobe University. Rowlands has published articles on topics in ethics and metaethics including moral disagreement, the moral error theory, the relationship between practical and epistemic normativity, as well as the relationship between reasons and value in journals including Nos, Ethics, Analysis, Philosophical Studies, and Philosophical Quarterly.

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