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Friendship with an Ideally Coherent Eccentric: A Problem for Korsgaard’s Attitude-Dependent Account of Value

Bhuvanendra, S; (2016) Friendship with an Ideally Coherent Eccentric: A Problem for Korsgaard’s Attitude-Dependent Account of Value. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis proposes an interpersonal version of Derek Parfit’s case of future Tuesday indifference, as a challenge to attitude-dependent accounts of value. Parfit’s character and other “ideally coherent eccentrics” (ICEs) are used as counterexamples to the claim that a coherent set of attitudes is sufficient for an agent to have legitimate values. Sharon Street argues that detailed picture of ICEs can dispel our intuitive concern. Using Christine Korsgaard’s attitude-dependent account, I argue that an examination of different aspects of coherence cannot dispel this concern. This is explained by a failure of her account to prevent my ICE from choosing values which threaten his friend’s integrity as an individual. In chapter 1, I explain my case of an ICE who is indifferent to his friend’s sadness on Tuesdays, and my choice to use Korsgaard’s account to investigate that case. Korsgaard’s account offers the opportunity to consider separately three notions of coherence: coherence in action-guidance, affective coherence (the coherence of evaluative experiences) and social coherence (coherence between group participants’ actions and experiences). In chapter 2, I argue that the requirements of coherence in action-guidance and affective coherence cannot be used to deny that my ICE has legitimate values. He can choose universalizable and consistent rules, and can avoid affective incoherence if he has no emotions or desires prompting him to reduce his friend’s sadness on Tuesdays. In chapter 3, I argue that the context of interaction with his friend cannot prevent my ICE’s actions either. A further restriction, that both friends must have the same evaluative experiences, can be circumvented if both friends share Tuesday indifference to the one friend’s problems. This is arguably a troubling result for Korsgaard’s account, as it suggests that the friend’s integrity is now undermined in both friends’ perspectives, and by both friends’ actions.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Friendship with an Ideally Coherent Eccentric: A Problem for Korsgaard’s Attitude-Dependent Account of Value
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473825
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