Why Idealize? Hume Solved That
Derek Baker (Lingnan University)

October 9, 2014, 12:15pm - 2:15pm
Department of Philosophy, University of Melbourne

G16 (Jim Potter Room)
Old Physics Building, Parkville Campus

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Abstract: Response-dependent accounts of normative or evaluative properties have been motivated by naturalistic concerns—concerns with finding explanatory work for these properties to do within the causal order of things—and also by the thought that reasons or value would lack authority for agents if those agents could be radically alienated from them.  At the same time, response-dependent accounts have typically explained normative and evaluative properties not in terms of people’s actual responses, but instead their responses in idealized circumstances—how the agent would respond if well informed, thinking clearly, and so on.  David Enoch has argued forcefully that idealization is inconsistent with the theoretical motives behind response-dependent accounts.  Idealization of the responses makes the properties accounted for less explanatory and more potentially alienating.  I will argue the reverse, focusing especially on the nature of dispositional explanations and how they provide a rationale for appealing to idealized responses.

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