Do values change? The answer seems to be a resounding “yes”. Both social science and history have traced broad societal value changes across time. Examples include the abolition of slavery, changes in morality towards more inclusivity, and increased concerns for the environment. Given these phenomena, it is a sensible assumption that there is something that needs to be explained.
Many of these phenomena might be explained in terms of changes in what people value. And all philosophical accounts of value change are – at least primarily – explanations of changing evaluations that may or may not correspond to the evaluative facts. It matters whether there would be a change in the evaluative facts. Moral change would seem to be a much more complicated phenomenon than previously thought: not only would we have to explain the change in evaluations, but also how those evaluations track changes in values. Moreover, the increased sophistication of empirical accounts of change in evaluations (e.g. in terms of moral revolutions, evolutionary pressures, or game-theoretic considerations) would have to be complemented by an account of how those changes correspond to a change in values.
However, it is an open question whether there can be a change in the values themselves, too. So far, philosophers have primarily focused on adjacent but distinct phenomena like moral disagreement, moral revolutions, and moral progress. The traditional questions within these fields of research (e.g. is there (deep) disagreement, how do moral revolutions happen, what is moral progress) do not invite an investigation of the possibility of changing values so far. In particular, value theory, the discipline concerned with questions regarding the nature of values, has thus far assumed a static view of values and no account of what it would mean for values to change has been provided thus far.
This workshop series aims to shed light on this under-investigated topic of value change. Despite its seemingly common enough occurrence, it is not clear what value change amounts to. Is value change simply a change in what people value, or is it a change in what is (objectively) valuable? The first step towards a clearer understanding of value change is to make headway on what exactly we need to explain when we want to explain value change.
This international workshop series will bring together internationally leading scholars on philosophical value theory to explore the topic of value change. The primary aim of the workshop series is to deepen our understanding of the phenomenon of value change from a value theoretic perspective. Furthermore, a secondary aim is to use that deepened understanding to explore the role of technology in value change. The series will provide an occasion to explore fundamental questions about value and value change.
Given the exploratory nature of the topic, we invite work in progress and early thoughts on the topic and we aim to facilitate a discussion with a diverse and international set of interested researchers on the topic.
Confirmed Speakers and dates
- Thursday 15 April 2021, 17.00 pm (CET): Graham Oddie (University of Colorado, USA)
- Thursday 22 April 2021, 17.00 pm (CET): Wlodek Rabinowicz (Lund University, Sweden)
- Thursday 29 April 2021, 17.00 pm (CET): Valerie Tiberius (University of Minnesota, USA)
- Thursday 6 May 2021, 17.00 pm (CET): Krister Bykvist (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Relevant questions that will be discussed include (but are not limited to) the following:
- How is value change different from phenomena like moral disagreement and moral progress?
- Do meta-ethical approaches offer different explanations of value change?
- In what sense of value, if any, is it true to say that values change?
- What kind of reasons are there for, and against, thinking that values change?
- What is the exact scope of value change? Does value change only apply to values of a certain sort, or does it extend to all values?
- What are, or would be, the metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions and implications of value change (or of different versions of value change)?
- What are the potential drivers of value change? How can technological developments trigger value change?
To participate, please send an email to [email protected]
Kindly notify us whether you would like to participate in all or only some of the sessions, and please specify which.
We will send the meeting link and finalized programm to all registered participants in due time.