Not a Good Fix

Constitutivism on Value Change and Disagreement

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We examine whether Thomsonian constitutivism, a metaethical view that analyses value in terms of ‘goodness-fixing kinds,’ i.e. kinds that themselves set the standards for being a good instance of the respective kind, offers a satisfactory explanation of value change and disagreement. While value disagreement has long been considered an important explanandum, we introduce value change as a closely related but distinct phenomenon of metaethical interest. We argue that constitutivism fails to explain both phenomena because of its commitment to goodness-fixing kinds. Constitutivism explains away disagreement and at best explains the emergence of new values, not genuine change. Therefore, Thomsonian constitutivism is not a good fix for realist problems with explaining value disagreement, and value change.