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Reasons and RecognitionEssays on the Philosophy of T.M. Scanlon$
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R. Jay Wallace, Rahul Kumar, and Samuel Freeman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199753673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753673.001.0001

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Rescuing Conservatism

Rescuing Conservatism

A Defense of Existing Value1

Chapter:
(p.203) 9 Rescuing Conservatism
Source:
Reasons and Recognition
Author(s):

G. A. Cohen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753673.003.0009

The conservative attitude that I seek to describe, and begin to defend, in this paper is a bias in favour of retaining what is of value, even in the face of replacing it by something of greater value. I consider two ways of valuing something other than solely on account of the amount or type of value that resides in it. In one way, a person values something as the particular valuable thing that it is, and not merely for the value that resides in it. In another way, a person values something because of the special relation of the thing to that person. There is a third idea in conservatism that I more briefly consider: namely, the idea that some things must be accepted as given, that not everything can, or should, be shaped to our aims and requirements.

Keywords:   Conservatism, intrinsic value, maximization, consequentialism, deontology, the given, Hegel

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