walto’s paper on prudential values

The journal Philosophia recently accepted a paper by TSZ commenter walto, entitled CHOICE: An Objective, Voluntaristic Theory of Prudential Value. Congratulations to walto.

Our discussion of walto’s previous paper was cut short due to censorship by the moderators. Let’s hope they have the sense to stay out of the way and allow open discussion to proceed this time.

Prudential values are a good topic for TSZ, and a nice change of pace from our usual discussions of objective moral values and whether they exist. Hence this thread.

You can download walto’s paper here.

I’ll save my remarks for the comment thread.

102 thoughts on “walto’s paper on prudential values

  1. walto:

    As he says at the bringing of his talk, freedom/autonomy is a central feature of what we mean by well-being.

    The Kafka quote they included with my existentialist gumballs:

    You are free and that is why you are lost.

  2. keiths: Your “official” definition of CHOICE says nothing about success:

    CHOICE. For all possible states of affairs S (and persons P), S is intrinsically prudentially good (for P) at t if and only if (i) S is freely chosen (by P) at t; and (ii) pursuant to one or more physical laws, the obtaining of S will, under ordinary conditions, causally contribute to the subsequent increase either of the total (P’s) capacity for free choice or by an increase in the alternatives that are available to be freely chosen (by P).

    If you want to apply a success criterion, you should amend the “official” statement to include it.

    You do mention success elsewhere in the paper, but the only example you give of a successful choice appears to be this one:

    How can an addict’s or suicide’s successful acquiring of a
    dangerous drug be good for her, even if and when it is desired?

    By that criterion, success amounts to obtaining what you choose.

    Also, when you write…

    Taking something you don’t like/want is hardly a success.

    …you are (perhaps inadvertently) acknowledging that CHOICE doesn’t stand on its own, but is instead an add-on to desire satisfaction (DS) or hedonistic (HED) theories of prudential value.

    This is good. I’ll have to be clearer about this. Thanks.

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