What is it to value something? This paper critically examines proposals based on the ideas of Harry Frankfurt, David Lewis, Michael Smith, and Charles Taylor. It discusses the relations between valuing and believing valuable, valuing and caring, and valuing and having second-order desires. It then develops a general account according to which valuing is to be seen as a complex syndrome of interrelated dispositions and attitudes, including certain characteristic types of belief, dispositions to treat certain kinds of consideration as reasons for action, and susceptibility to a wide range of emotions. Although this account differs in a number of significant respects from the account of valuing that Scanlon proposes in What We Owe to Each Other, it also has a good deal in common with that account and it is compatible with Scanlon’s “buck-passing account” of value.
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