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Pettit's Non-iteration Constraint

  • SEAN MCALEER (a1)

Abstract

I discuss Philip Pettit's argument that appreciation is not a proper response to value because it fails to satisfy the non-iteration constraint, according to which, where V is a value and R is a response to value, R-ing V must not be distinct from R-ing R-ing V. After motivating the non-iteration constraint and conceding that appreciation fails to satisfy the constraint, I argue that the consequentialist's preferred response to value, promotion, also violates the constraint, leaving Pettit with a dilemma: if he insists on the constraint, then promotion is not a proper response to value; if he does not insist on the constraint, then his argument against appreciation as a proper response to value fails.

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References

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1 Swanton, Christine, ‘Profiles of the Virtues’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 76 (1995), p. 50.

2 Pettit, Philip, ‘The Consequentialist Perspective’, Three Methods of Ethics, ed. Baron, M., Pettit, P. and Slote, M. (Oxford, 1997), p. 128.

3 Philip Pettit, ‘Reply to Baron and Slote’ in Baron et al., Three Methods, p. 261.

4 Pettit, ‘Reply’, pp. 261–2; italics original, bold added.

5 Davidson, Donald, ‘How is Weakness of the Will Possible?’, Essays on Actions and Events (Oxford, 1980), p. 25.

6 In Wilson, Edmund, The Wound and the Bow: Seven Studies in Literature (New York, 1965).

7 Pettit, ‘Reply’, pp. 261–2.

8 Thanks to Stuart Rachels for helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

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