Volume 46, Issue 3, Fall 2016
Reconciling the Phenomenology and Metaphysics of Value
This paper aims to reconcile the phenomenology and metaphysics of value by proposing a cognitivist and metaphysically committed account of evaluation and value inspired, in part, by the phenomenological arguments of J. N. Findlay in relation to value. By the phenomenology of value I mean the affective—commendatory—character of evaluations such as when I describe something as good or bad, worthwhile or not worthwhile. Whilst this—subjective—aspect of evaluation is largely uncontested, there is much disagreement about the cognitive and metaphysical status of our evaluations. The disagreement centers round two problems, which I call the intentionality problem and the metaphysical problem, respectively. These problems address whether evaluative feelings refer beyond themselves to objects and, if they do, about the character of the object to which they are directed. By drawing on and reconstructing an argument by Findlay, I argue that the affective character of evaluative experience has an intentional structure that takes the form of a judgement that is merited, or not, by its object. However, unlike Findlay, I offer a metaphysically-laden account of the distinction between evaluation and value by arguing that value properties are mind-independent dispositions that are realized in human cognitively-structured affectivity.