From Valuing to Value: A Defense of Subjectivism
OverviewSubjective accounts of well-being and reasons for action have a remarkable pedigree. The idea that normativity flows from what an agent cares about-that something is valuable because it is valued-has appealed to a wide range of great thinkers. But at the same time this idea has seemed to many of the best minds in ethics to be outrageous or worse, not least because it seems to threaten the status of morality. Mutual incomprehension looms over the discussion. From Valuing to Value, written by an influential former critic of subjectivism, owns up to the problematic features to which critics have pointed while arguing that such criticisms can be blunted and the overall view rendered defensible. In this collection of his essays David Sobel does not shrink from acknowledging the real tension between subjective views of reasons and morality, yet argues that such a tension does not undermine subjectivism. In this volume the fundamental commitments of subjectivism are clarified and revealed to be rather plausible and well-motivated, while the most influential criticisms of subjectivism are straightforwardly addressed and found wanting.