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Metaphor and Moral Experience$
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A. E. Denham

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240105.001.0001

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Aspects of Value

Aspects of Value

(p.58) 3 Aspects of Value
Metaphor and Moral Experience

A. E. Denham

Oxford University Press

The analogy between experience of value and experience of secondary qualities raises as many questions as it answers. This chapter suggests that moral experience, like much perceptual experience, is ‘aspectual’; that is, it presents us with organised, complex wholes which can only with difficulty (if at all) be dissected into their component parts. It also explores whether there is any arena of perceptual experience that can sustain an analogy with moral experience, while yet respecting the judgement-dependence of moral concepts. Moral values themselves are quite unlike physical objects; after all, it was largely their remoteness from the objects of the physical sciences that motivated the analogy with secondary qualities in the first place. A very apt analogy is to be found in the perception of pictures. This chapter ends by considering three difficulties associated with the secondary-quality model: the non-sensory character of moral experience, the rational relations of moral properties to the natural ones on which they supervene, and the contestability of moral judgements.

Keywords:   moral values, moral experience, secondary qualities, perception, pictures, moral judgements, moral properties

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