Philosophy Colloquium: Nandi Theunissen, Pittsburgh University

The New Mooreans

The Fall 2021 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents nandi Theunissen (Pittsburgh University).

I address a basic question in value theory about the relationship between being good and being good for someone. Is something (A) good because it is good for someone, or (B) is it good for someone because it is good? A group of theorists whom I will call the New Mooreans—Joseph Raz, Susan Wolf, and Thomas Nagel—defend B: good has priority over good for. I contend that their arguments are insufficient to secure B: it is false that when something is non-instrumentally good for someone it is so because it is good simpliciter. I conclude by locating a deep point of disagreement between the New Mooreans and their opponents. For the New Mooreans, value affects us as a mere symptom of being good, while for their opponents, value is crucially and essentially affective. Without settling the question of the better theory of value, I suggest that new Mooreans are under pressure to explain the claim of values on our cognitive and practical attention. If the suggestion stands, they must do more to make a real advance over G. E. Moore.

This colloquium talk will be hosted on Zoom by Jonathan Weinberg. Please contact Dr. Weinberg if you would like to attend the talk.


3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24, 2021

Event Contacts

Jonathan Weinberg