Extrinsic value and the separability of reasons

Barry Maguire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There is an interesting tension between certain value-based deontic theories (such as act consequentialism) and certain value-based theories of virtue (such as Thomas Hurka’s Recursive account). The tension arises in cases involving non-instrumental extrinsic value, for instance the value of sadness in response to tragedy. This tension prompts us to look for more sophisticated value-based deontic principles than act consequentialism. This chapter develops such principles. It argues that the weights of reasons to promote extrinsically valuable states of affairs are a function of the value of extrinsically valuable state of affairs and also the value of its condition. This yields a systematic restriction on the separability of reasons. The broadest goal of the chapter is to exhibit some of the resources available to value-based theories of reasons as part of a deontic theory sensitive to pretheoretic intuitions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Studies in Normative Ethics
EditorsMark Timmons
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191833229, 9780192507860
ISBN (Print)9780198790587
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Normative Ethics
PublisherOxford University Press


  • reasons
  • value
  • extrinsic value
  • final value
  • separability
  • additivity
  • Hurka
  • consequentialism
  • virtue


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