Elijah Millgram

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Senior Seminar: Values and Defeaters


Gabriele Juvan, fahrender vorhang

No one knows what to make of values, philosophically. What are they? How do they explain and justify decisions? Are they distinct from facts? Merely projections of our emotions? How do we determine what's valuable? Are there unconditional values? Incommensurable values? How do values guide action, and more generally, what role do they play in our cognitive economy?

And no one knows what to make of defeasibility, either: that is, of the way that, most of the time, your conclusions follow unless there's a 'defeater': a reason for making an exception and not drawing the conclusion this time. The conclusion follows, we say, "other things equal," but there are always more other things; they never seem to run out.

Sometimes problems are easier to work on when you have more than one of them. We'll put these two side by side, and see what headway we can make.

PHIL 4010
Fall 2017
Time: Tu 2:00-5:00
Location: Tanner Library (CTIHB 459)