Values and the Reflective Point of View: On Expressivism, Self-Knowledge and Agency, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Values and the Reflective Point of View

On Expressivism, Self-Knowledge and Agency, 1st Edition

By Robert Dunn


162 pages

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Values are inescapable. They pervade and shape our psychology, our agency, and our lives as reflective and self-knowing subjects. This book explores the crucial ways in which values figure within reflection and thereby shape our theoretical and practical lives, against the backdrop of an expressivist moral psychology that is sensitive to the vicissitudes of valuing. Combining a discussion of the role that values play within reflection with a critique of a range of influential contemporary views in moral psychology and the theory of agency, Dunn shows how such views obscure or distort the nature of that role and that there is a ’natural fit’ between an expressivist account of values and the best account of the role of values in the lives of reflective agents. Writers discussed include Simon Blackburn, Michael E. Bratman, Donald Davidson, Harry Frankfurt, Christine Korsgaard, Thomas Nagel and J. David Velleman. The book is also an important addition to the literature on self-knowledge. Dunn argues that, by reasoning about truth and values, we possess a unique, non-observational way of coming to know our own minds and hearts, together with what we are going to make happen in the world. The discussion criticizes recent contributions to the theory of self-knowledge by Richard Moran and J. David Velleman.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Values and reflection; Moral psychology and expressivism; Self-knowledge, truth and value; Perverse agency; Two mistakes about practical reasoning; What's wrong with the sensible knave?; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Robert Dunn is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia. Formerly, he was an Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Wollongong. He has also taught philosophy at the University of Queensland. He is the author of various articles in moral psychology and the theory of self-knowledge. His book, The Possibility of Weakness of Will, was awarded the Johnsonian Prize by the Journal of Philosophy, at Columbia University, New York.

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