Friday, June 09, 2006

REPLY to REPLY BY GIANFRANCO/1: on the language used to express the thesis

Gianfranco's criticism is correct. It is true that X being a necessary condition for Y to be a value does not imply that X is what it is in virtue of which that Y has value, etc. It is also true that certain views that adopt the Experience Requirement do not reduce to Experientialism, because the Experience Machine scenario can be excluded by some of them. Yet there are problems for such a view as well, as I will show in the next post.

Now I want to correct the language used in the previous formulation of the Experience Requirement:

As I stated it, the Experience Requirement was
“1. Experience Requirement: something (some state of affairs) can be good for the subject only if it enters the subject’s experience.”

But what does it mean that an (obtaining) state of affairs enters a subject’s experience?
It seems that a much better formulation of the Experience Requirement should be something along these lines:
1’ (Experience Requirement) an obtaining state of affairs is good for the subject S only if it is a state of the world in which A. there is something intrinsically valuable, and 2. the subject has an experience of something intrinsically valuable.

Now some things follow from this formulation: what does it mean to say that in this world there is something intrinsically valuable (say, real friendship)? It means that the existence of some instances of friendships are good absolutely (they make the world a better, or intrinsically preferable, world.)
It certainly does not mean that the existence of friendship, in itself, is good for the subject S.
According to the experience requirement, the only states that can be good for a subejct are states that include subjects having experiences.

Thus one may say that according to the experience requirement all states of affairs that can be good for a subject are, or better, include experiences.

Does this view suffer from the Experience Machine objection? The answer is clearly no, as shown in "Can we use the experience requirement in a reasonable way?".

1 comment:

Gianfranco said...

Reply to Reply to Reply by Gianfranco/1: G-theories and the list of substantive values

Michele’s correction of his language is very worthy of being considered, and it grasps what was underlying my first reply to his views. I would like to propose the following distinction to be taken into account in my following replies:

there is a difference between a theory of what has value – a substantive list of value-bearers, or of goods – and a theory on the conditions under which something having value can have value for individuals – a structural account of individual value.

On the background of the distinction, the idea lies that a theory of individual value is obtained by adding a way of indexing value-bearers to individuals to a list of non-individually-indexed value bearers.

G-theories are a formal approach to value, not engaged in prejudging the substantive list of values. Indeed, they aim to be applied to each and every list of substantive values. Obviously, as Michele said, certain lists – such as a list containing only mental states- will make G-theories redundant or trivial. And, I dare to remark, certain other list could make G-theories particularly difficult to apply. But to show that this difficulty is an argument to repel G-theories needs further arguments – besides the difficulty itself. More on this in the following post.
However, we will see in my following posts that I will be forced to weaken somewhat my original G-theory in order to answer to Michele’s objections. This, however, should not involve further changes in language.