Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

LeBar, Mark. the Value of Living Well

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

LeBar, Mark. the Value of Living Well

Article excerpt

LEBAR, Mark. The Value of Living Well. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. xiii + 356 pp. Cloth, $74.00--Eudaimonism typically concerns the content of moral reasons, holding that our reasons for action ultimately refer to living well. This fine book seeks to draw on eudaimonism to address questions about the nature of reasons and values and thus begins a welcome foray into metaethics. Its core normative commitment, argued for in part one, is telic monism, the view that we have one ultimate end. Its core metaethical commitments, argued for in part two, are constructivism and particularism. Part three addresses concerns arising from and objections to positions taken in the first two parts.

Virtue Eudaimonism (VE) is grounded in our being end-seekers and end-setters. We cannot make sense of ourselves as agents, LeBar argues, unless we accept that we have one ultimate end--a final end that derives none of its value or normative force from other ends and is itself the source of the value of all other ends. This telic monism is captured by The Aristotelian Framework," which is the scaffolding upon which Virtue Eudaimonism hangs." It comprises five claims: that we have ends; that some of these ends are final ends (that is, ends whose normative force is not derived entirely from their instrumental relations to other ends); that there is at least one ultimate end (that is, a final end that derives none of its normative force from other ends); that this ultimate end contributes normative force to all other ends; and that there is at most one ultimate end. Telic monism is consistent with value pluralism. But if there were more than one ultimate end, a decision to pursue one rather than another would be arbitrary, and genuine agency rules out such arbitrariness. That there is one ultimate end doesn't tell us what the ultimate end is. Of course, for the eudaimonist, that end is living well, and excellent practical agency--practical wisdom--is central to living well. Eudaimonia and practical wisdom are mutually informing"; neither is theoretically basic.

Practical rationality is not a matter of recognizing and responding to independently existing values and norms. Since such recognitionalist understandings render reason essentially passive, they are at odds with genuine agency. Moreover, they have difficulty explaining how normative facts can guide action. VE is constructivist: normative facts are constructed by practical reason. Though normative facts are constructed, LeBar takes his view to be realist, since for him the distinctive feature of realism is that moral judgments are representational; stance-independence is not decisive in his taxonomy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.