Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Value Monism

A Critique of Isaiah Berlin

Today I’d like to mount a critique of Isaiah Berlin. In particular, I’d like to go after his objectivist argument for value pluralism, the notion that there are multiple moral systems that, despite their conflicts, cannot be described as more true or better than one another because their differences are so foundational as to be incomparable on any given metric. I will argue, contra Berlin, that he is simply empirically wrong–in the real world, moral theories separated by time and culture have much more in common with one another than Berlin perceived.

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One Value to Rule them All

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about value monism–the philosophical idea that all of our moral beliefs ought to be reducible to a single guiding principle or value. There is a tendency, in some circles, to see value monism as inherently dogmatic or unreasonable, to prefer value pluralism, the idea that there are multiple independent moral values. I’d like to counter that argument and illustrate some of the ways value monism advantages us by clarifying our thinking and simplifying the moral landscape.

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