The main argument for value incommensurability (and why it fails)

  • Ellis S
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Arguments for value incommensurability ultimately depend on a certain diagnosis of human motivation. Incommensurablists hold that each person’s basic ends are not only irreducible but also incompatible with one another. It isn’t merely that some goals can’t, in fact, be jointly realized; values actually compete for influence. This account makes a mistake about the nature of human motivation. Each value underwrites a ceteris paribus evaluation. Such assessments are mutually compatible because the observation that there is something to be said for an outcome from a particular perspective allows for any ultimate evaluation of that outcome. Values can be irreducible without thereby being incommensurable.

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  • Stephen Ellis

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