Analysing value
Toby Handfield (Monash University)

October 17, 2014, 10:15am - 12:15pm
Philosophy Department, Monash University

Building 11, Room E561
Monash University
Clayton 3800

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Abstract:  This paper is part of a broader project: to identify the methodological benefits of relatively orthodox claims about the nature of value. The paper is in part a critical response to recent unorthodox claims due to Larry Temkin. Temkin notoriously claims that it is problematic to assume that better-than is a transitive relation. He also claims that the nature of value is "essentially comparative", and that this undermines a number of common assumptions about value, including the assumption of transitivity.

  Two principal claims are defended. The first, positive claim, is that there is a non-trivial methodological benefit involved in upholding the orthodox assumption that better-than is a transitive relation. The second claim is purely negative: I show that, even if value is essentially comparative, that gives us no reason to think transitivity fails.

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