In his post In Defense of Radical Value Pluralism, Luke Muehlhauser attempts to falsify value monism. Before addressing his claims, I’d like to comment on a few lesser issues and get them out of the way. On value, Luke writes,
A cup of coffee has value when I desire it. Sunshine has value when I desire it. Sex has value because you desire it.
Come from someone who emphatically denies intrinsic value, I think imprecision with language invites confusion here. Luke’s language lends all too easily to the idea that coffee, sunshine and sex can “have” or possess value, as if value is some sort of object that can be possessed. He writes as if value were a noun, but the only way value can be a noun is if it’s a person, place or thing. Many will see this as trivial, semantic, or nitpicking, perhaps because they feel the language is accurate enough to get the point across. I agree the language is accurate enough to get the point across, but that’s too low of a standard for rigorous philosophy. I think using value as a verb would allow Luke to make his arguments with more clarity and less amenability to confusion. Nothing has value, ever: people value.