PY3102 Handout 7
(DS): X is C iff Ss are disposed to
produce X-directed response R in K.
C= a use of a concept, such as the concept of redness
K= the circumstances in which X-directed response R is relevant to X
We can express S’s
being disposed to f in K by saying that
S is such as to f in K.
Two ways of understanding dispositions:
disposed to f in circumstances C
iff (if C obtain, X will f) This
may be expressed by the statement
X is disposed
to f in circumstances C iff (if C obtain, there
is a tendency for X to f)
It is better to
read the dispositional theory involving dispositions as analysed in (1).
Schema to Value: David Lewis’ Dispositional Theory of Value:
(DTV): X is valuable iff we would
be disposed to value X under ideal circumstances.
Notes on this
- This is meant as
an analytic definition. It tells us what we mean when we call
something valuable. However, the definition is not obvious. Lewis
claims that interesting philosophical definitions are seldom obviously
analytic, but that this does not show that they aren’t analytic. Lewis
also claims that his definition is equivocally analytic. The term
“valuable” gets used in many ways, and Lewis’ definition only means to
capture most of the significant uses of the term. Everyday language is
fuzzy. If we want philosophical definitions, we will have to regiment
- Lewis notes that
DTV is uninterestingly circular. It is circular because forms of “value”
occur on both left and right sides of the definition. It is uninteresting
because it does not tell us who “we” are, what it is for “us” to “value”
anything, or which circumstances are “ideal.” How do we specify these:
- Valuing X is desiring
to desire X
circumstances are circumstances of fullest possible imaginative
- The reference
of ‘we’ is left open. It depends on whether there is anything everyone
would be disposed to desire to desire. Lewis thinks that leaving this
open is a virtue of his account. It lets the truth of relativism depend
on contingent, empirical facts about us. What would we value if we had
the fullest acquaintance possible with something?
(DTV Full Version): X is valuable
iff we would be disposed to desire to desire X under circumstances
of fullest possible imaginative acquaintance with X.
- Which is the direction
of explanation here? The right side is primary, and explains the
truth of the left side.
- Keep in mind
that the DTV is an internalist theory- There is a necessary
connection between judgements about value and our motivations.
Constructivism: The view
that facts about what we ought to do depend on the conclusions about what we
ought to do that would be reached via a procedure of construction that takes us
from collective agreement/endorsement to these conclusions.