Ideas of Jonathan Dancy, by Theme

[British, fl. 1985, At Keel University, then Professor at Reading University.]

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
As coherence expands its interrelations become steadily tighter, culminating only in necessary truth
     Full Idea: As our system grows in coherence, the interrelations between its parts becomes tighter and tighter; at the limit contingent truth vanishes, leaving only necessary truth.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 14.7)
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
The correspondence theory also has the problem that two sets of propositions might fit the facts equally well
     Full Idea: The correspondence theory as well as the coherence theory has the problem of more than one set of truths. Why can't two sets of propositions "fit the facts" equally well?
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.2)
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
Rescher says that if coherence requires mutual entailment, this leads to massive logical redundancy
     Full Idea: Rescher complains that if coherence requires mutual entailment, then what is entailed is logically redundant, and the whole system is infected with mutual redundancy.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.1)
If one theory is held to be true, all the other theories appear false, because they can't be added to the true one
     Full Idea: From the point of view of someone with a theory every other theory is false, because it cannot be added to the true theory.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.2)
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 2. Coherence Truth Critique
Even with a tight account of coherence, there is always the possibility of more than one set of coherent propositions
     Full Idea: No matter how tight our account of coherence we have to admit that there may be more than one set of coherent propositions (as Russell pointed out (1907)).
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.2)
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Realism
Realism says that most perceived objects exist, and have some of their perceived properties
     Full Idea: Realism in the theory of perception is that objects we perceive usually do exist, and retain some at least of the properties we perceive them as having.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.2)
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
A pupil who lacks confidence may clearly know something but not be certain of it
     Full Idea: Why isn't certainty required for knowledge? Because we are often prepared to allow that someone does in fact have knowledge when the person is so uncertain they would not claim knowledge for themselves (the 'diffident schoolboy').
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 2.1)
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 3. Fallibilism
If senses are fallible, then being open to correction is an epistemological virtue
     Full Idea: In my view, once we admit that our beliefs about our sensory states are not infallible, incorrigibility would be a vice rather than a virtue.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.3)
     A reaction: This seems to be axiomatic among modern philosophers, and I certainly agree with it.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / a. Nave realism
Nave direct realists hold that objects retain all of their properties when unperceived
     Full Idea: The nave direct realist holds that unperceived objects are able to retain properties of all the types we perceive them as having, which includes not only a shape and a size, but also a colour, a taste and a smell.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.3)
     A reaction: This I take to be a completely untenable view, if we are including the qualia of red, sweet or pungent among the properties. It seems uncontroversial that objects retain the capacity to cause redness etc. when they are unperceived.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / b. Direct realism
Scientific direct realism says we know some properties of objects directly
     Full Idea: The scientific direct realist accepts the directness of our perception of the world, but restricts his realism to a special group of properties, ..not including those which are dependent for their existence upon the existence of a perceiver.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.3)
     A reaction: Dancy goes on to say that this distinction is a 'close relative' of Locke's primary/secondary distinction. Am I a direct realist or a representative realist about primary properties? Maybe the distinction dissolves as we unravel the true process.
Maybe we are forced from direct into indirect realism by the need to explain perceptual error
     Full Idea: Direct realism is unlikely to be able to provide an explanation of perceptual error without collapsing into indirect realism.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.3)
     A reaction: If there is an error, there must be two things which don't match: the perception, and the reality. This seems to me a powerful reason for preferring indirect or representative realism. I like the idea that we make mental 'models' (rather than inferences).
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / c. Representative realism
Internal realism holds that we perceive physical objects via mental objects
     Full Idea: Indirect realism holds that in perception we are indirectly aware of the physical objects around us in virtue of a direct awareness of internal, non-physical objects.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.4)
     A reaction: This may be a slightly prejudicial definition which invites insoluble questions about the ontological status of the internal 'objects'. It seems to me obvious that we create some sort of inner 'models' or constructions in the process of perception.
Indirect realism depends on introspection, the time-lag, illusions, and neuroscience
     Full Idea: The four standard reasons for preferring indirect to direct realism are introspection of our mental processes, the time-lag argument, the argument from illusion, and the findings of neuroscience.
     From: report of Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.4) by PG - Db (ideas)
     A reaction: Ultimately one's views about realism depend on one's views of the mind/brain, and it is the last of the four reasons that sways me. We know enough about the complexity of the brain to accept that it represents reality, with no additional ontology.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
Phenomenalism includes possible experiences, but idealism only refers to actual experiences
     Full Idea: Phenomenalism talks about actual and possible experiences, whereas idealism confines itself to the actual experiences.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 9.5)
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / a. Idealism
Eliminative idealists say there are no objects; reductive idealists say objects exist as complex experiences
     Full Idea: The eliminativist idealist holds that there is no such thing as a material object; there is nothing but experience (idea, sensation). The reductive idealist holds that there are material objects, but they are nothing other than complexes of experience.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.6)
     A reaction: Dancy says Berkeley was of the latter type. The distinction doesn't strike me as entirely clear. I can't make much sense of the words 'are' or 'exist' in the second theory. To say it is only experiences translates (to me) as 'doesn't exist'.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 4. Solipsism
Extreme solipsism only concerns current experience, but it might include past and future
     Full Idea: Extreme solipsism only considers present experiences, but more relaxed solipsism may include past and possible future experiences.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 9.5)
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 5. A Priori Synthetic
Knowing that a cow is not a horse seems to be a synthetic a priori truth
     Full Idea: The fact that a cow is not a horse is a candidate for a priori synthetic truth. It doesn't seem to be analytic, because you can know what a cow is without knowing what a horse is.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 14.3)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 1. Perception
Perception is either direct realism, indirect realism, or phenomenalism
     Full Idea: There are three main families of theories of perception: direct realism, indirect realism, and phenomenalism.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.2)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / e. Primary/secondary critique
We can't grasp the separation of quality types, or what a primary-quality world would be like
     Full Idea: There is doubt about whether our experience of the world is such that we can conceive of the sort of separation of primary and secondary qualities which the scientific view calls for, and can understand what the world is like with no secondary qualities.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.3)
     A reaction: Dancy attributes these doubts to Berkeley (e.g. Idea 3837). I think what is claimed here is false. Obviously we spend our whole lives immersed in secondary qualities, but separating the different aspects is precisely what scientists (and philosophers) do.
For direct realists the secondary and primary qualities seem equally direct
     Full Idea: For a direct realist our awareness of colour and heat can hardly be of a different order from our awareness of shape and size. Both sorts of properties are presented with equal directness.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.3)
     A reaction: This is a good objection to 'direct scientific realism', which claims direct apprehension of primary qualities alongside a totally relative view of secondary qualities. The best response seems to be to move to a representative view of primary properties.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory
We can be looking at distant stars which no longer actually exist
     Full Idea: An object such as a distant star can have ceased to exist by the moment at which we are directly aware of it.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 10.2)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / b. Nature of sense-data
It is not clear from the nature of sense data whether we should accept them as facts
     Full Idea: The question whether something which appears as datum should remain as accepted fact is one which is not even partially determined by its origin as datum.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.5)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 7. Causal Perception
Appearances don't guarantee reality, unless the appearance is actually caused by the reality
     Full Idea: If I stare at a white wall with my brain wired to a virtual reality computer, and it generates a white wall, we wouldn't say I am seeing reality. It seems that the wall itself must in some way cause my perception of it.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 11.4)
     A reaction: But suppose the computer generated in my mind an image of the wall which was actually in front of me? And suppose the computer got its image from the identical wall next door, not from mine? And it was only judged identical because the architect said so
Perceptual beliefs may be directly caused, but generalisations can't be
     Full Idea: A perceptual belief that p can have as its main cause the fact that p. More general facts (all men are mortal; e=mc2) cannot be the main cause of my belief, even if they do function causally in some way.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 11.5)
     A reaction: Note that the perceptual belief can be the "main" cause; it seems to me that most beliefs are caused by judgements, though I may normally accept beliefs which are directly caused by perception, if I have no reason to challenge them.
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 4. Memory
If perception and memory are indirect, then two things stand between mind and reality
     Full Idea: If perception is indirect as well as memory, this means there are two direct objects of awareness between the remembering mind and the original object.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 12.2)
Memories aren't directly about the past, because time-lags and illusions suggest representation
     Full Idea: Direct realism about memory believes the memory is the past. But the time-lag argument and various illusions are powerful here, suggesting indirect realism involving a memory image.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 12.2)
Phenomenalism about memory denies the past, or reduces it to present experience
     Full Idea: Eliminative phenomenalism about memory holds that there is no such thing as the past, just certain present experiences; reductive phenomenalism holds that there is a past, but it is no more than a complex of those present experiences.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 12.4)
I can remember plans about the future, and images aren't essential (2+3=5)
     Full Idea: Memory is not solely concerned with the past, let alone one's own past (I remember that I must be in London next week), and need not involve images (2+2=4).
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 12.3)
     A reaction: I can hardly remember the future, so I presume I am remembering my past commitment to go to London, even if I visualise the future with me in London. The non-necessity of images seems right. I can remember the Mona Lisa without a precise image.
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 2. Justification Challenges / a. Agrippa's trilemma
Foundations are justified by non-beliefs, or circularly, or they need no justification
     Full Idea: Foundationalism can get rid of the regress argument with one of three types of belief: those justified by something other than beliefs, those which justify themselves, or those which need no justification.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.3)
     A reaction: A nice clear trilemma, and none of them will do, which is why foundationalism is false. I vote for Davidson's view, that only a belief can justify another belief.
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 3. Internal or External / a. Pro-internalism
For internalists we must actually know that the fact caused the belief
     Full Idea: The internalist would claim that even if the belief is caused by the true fact to which it refers, it is also necessary that the believer believes that this is how their belief arose, and not some other way.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 3.5)
     A reaction: I'm converted to internalism. If the belief is externally supported in the right way, then it may well be a true belief, but knowledge needs critical faculties, and justifications which can be articulated.
Internalists tend to favour coherent justification, but not the coherence theory of truth
     Full Idea: Internalists such as Keith Lehrer tend to suggest that we adopt a coherence theory of justification but reject the coherence theory of truth.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.3)
     A reaction: I agree with Lehrer. Truth just isn't coherence, for all sorts of well known reasons (found in this database!). High coherence can be totally false. For justification, though, it is the best we have.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / a. Foundationalism
Foundationalism requires inferential and non-inferential justification
     Full Idea: The core of any form of foundationalism is the view that there are two forms of justification - inferential and non-inferential - and that non-inferential justification must be possible to avoid a sceptical regress.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.1)
     A reaction: The foundation may be non-inferential, but is it also non-evidential, or devoid of any support at all, apart from its own eloquent self? I can't buy that, I'm afraid.
Foundationalists must accept not only the basic beliefs, but also rules of inference for further progress
     Full Idea: Foundationalists suppose we need not only basic beliefs, but also principles of inference to move to the more sophisticated superstructure. We may understand what justifies the basic beliefs, but what about the inference principles?
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.3)
     A reaction: Very nice question. Of course, you can't justify everything, but each part of a system can be scrutinised in turn by the other parts (with scrutinising principles tested pragmatically).
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / b. Basic beliefs
If basic beliefs can be false, falsehood in non-basic beliefs might by a symptom
     Full Idea: Falsehood in a non-basic belief would be a reason to doubt the basic beliefs which support it, once we have admitted that basic beliefs can be false.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.3)
     A reaction: The yearning for foundations arises from the yearning for certainty. If one embraces the fallibilist view of knowledge, as I do, then there is little motivation for foundationalism.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / f. Foundationalism critique
Beliefs can only be infallible by having almost no content
     Full Idea: Infallible beliefs must have vanishingly small content. No belief with enough content to support the superstructure in which we are really interested is going to be infallible.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.2)
     A reaction: I see no reason why a foundationalist should not be a fallibilist, rather than insisting on the infallibility of their basic beliefs. I don't, though, see how basic beliefs can count as knowledge.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / a. Coherence as justification
Coherentism gives a possible justification of induction, and opposes scepticism
     Full Idea: Coherentists feel that their approach provides a possible justification for induction, and offers a general stance from which the sceptic can be defused, if not rebutted.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.3)
     A reaction: These are two good reasons why I vote for coherentism (about justification, NOT about truth). Coherence is the main tool for leading us to the best explanation.
Idealists must be coherentists, but coherentists needn't be idealists
     Full Idea: An idealist should perhaps be a coherentist, but there seems to be no reason why the coherentist should be an idealist; the link between the two is all one-way.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 9.5)
     A reaction: I don't see why an idealist shouldn't be a rationalist foundationalist, with a private reality full of certainties founded on simple a priori truths. Personally I'm an empiricist coherentist, this week.
For coherentists justification and truth are not radically different things
     Full Idea: The coherentist idea is that justification and truth are not properties of radically different types.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 11.6)
     A reaction: Oh. And I thought I was a coherentist. It take it that keeping coherence for foundations separate from coherence as truth is absolutely basic. The latter is nonsense.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / b. Pro-coherentism
If it is empirical propositions which have to be coherent, this eliminates coherent fiction
     Full Idea: If coherence is grounded in, and is trying to make sense of, a set of empirical propositions, this will eliminate some of the more fanciful sets of coherent propositions, such as the complete Sherlock Holmes stories.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.2)
     A reaction: Interestingly, I suspect that embracing the coherence view of justification drives one back to empiricisim (pace Bonjour), because that is the most authoritative part of the pattern of beliefs.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 1. External Justification
Externalism could even make belief unnecessary (e.g. in animals)
     Full Idea: One reading of the externalist approach may lead to a rejection of the belief condition for knowledge (in animals, perhaps).
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 9.3)
     A reaction: At this point the concept of 'knowledge' seems to disperse into the mist. This pushes me to a 'setting the bar high' view of knowledge. Otherwise plants will have it, and we don't want that.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 2. Causal Justification
How can a causal theory of justification show that all men die?
     Full Idea: How can a causal analysis of justification show that I know that all men die?
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 2.3)
     A reaction: I presume he means that inductive generalisations can't be purely causal. The claim that men are immortal is absurd because it is 'unconnected' to what actually happens.
Causal theories don't allow for errors in justification
     Full Idea: Causal accounts of justification do not allow for the possibility that a false belief may still be justified.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 2.4)
     A reaction: Good. If you switch to what you only think is the cause of your belief, you have gone internalist and ruined the party. You can't deny that a falsehood can be justified, or justification is vacuous.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 8. Social Justification
Coherentism moves us towards a more social, shared view of knowledge
     Full Idea: An advantage of coherentism is that it directs attention away from the individual's struggle to achieve knowledge (the classical conception), and points to knowledge as a social phenomenon, shared, and increased by means of sharing.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 8.3)
     A reaction: This is exactly the view which I now embrace. Internal coherence is the basis, but that spills out into the community, and into books, and into the relativity of social acceptance.
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
What is the point of arguing against knowledge, if being right undermines your own argument?
     Full Idea: What is the point of arguing that justified belief is impossible, for if you were right there could be no reasons for your conclusion?
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 1.3)
14. Science / C. Induction / 6. Bayes's Theorem
Probabilities can only be assessed relative to some evidence
     Full Idea: In Probability Calculus probability is only assessed relative to some evidence.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 4.1)
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / d. Other minds by analogy
The argument from analogy rests on one instance alone
     Full Idea: As an inductive argument Mill's argument from analogy (other people have inputs and outputs like mine, so the intermediate explanation must be the same) is weak because it is based on a single instance.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 5.3)
     A reaction: The argument may be 'weak' as a piece of pure logic, but when faced with a strange situation, one's own case seems like crucial evidence, like a single eye-witness to a crime.
You can't separate mind and behaviour, as the analogy argument attempts
     Full Idea: The analogy argument makes the error (as Wittgenstein showed) of assuming that mind is quite separate from behaviour, and yet I can understand what it is for others to have mental states, which is contradictory.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 5.3)
     A reaction: It has always seemed to me that Wittgenstein is excessively behaviourist, and he always seems to be flirting with eliminative views of mind, so he was never bothered about other minds. Minds aren't separate from behaviour, but they are distinct.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 5. Meaning as Verification
Verificationism (the 'verification principle') is an earlier form of anti-realism
     Full Idea: Verificationism (the 'verification principle') is an earlier form of anti-realism.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 1.note)
     A reaction: If the one true God announced that there is a real world out there, I might take that as a verification of the fact.
Logical positivism implies foundationalism, by dividing weak from strong verifications
     Full Idea: The foundationalist claim that there are inferential and non-inferential justifications is mirrored by the claim of logical empiricism (the verification principle) that all significant statements are either strongly or weakly verifiable.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 6.2)
     A reaction: I take it to be characteristic of both to divide the support for something into two types, one of which is basic, and the other built up on the basics. The first step is to decide what is basic.
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / b. Language holism
If the meanings of sentences depend on other sentences, how did we learn language?
     Full Idea: It is clearly possible to learn a language from scratch, because we have all done it, but if holism is true and the meaning of each sentence depends on the meanings of others, how did we do it?
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 7.2)
     A reaction: The question of 'how did it ever get started?' actually seems to block almost every explanation of everything that ever happens. How do I begin to move my hand?
19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / b. Indeterminate translation
There is an indeterminacy in juggling apparent meanings against probable beliefs
     Full Idea: Indeterminacy stems from an interplay between belief and meaning, as with a man who tells you he keeps two rhinoceri in the fridge and squeezes the juice of one for a drink each morning.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 7.4)
     A reaction: I don't understand why an 'interplay' is called an 'indeterminacy'. Typical philosophers. Close examination will usually show whether the change is just in belief, or just in meaning, or in both.
19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / c. Principle of charity
Charity makes native beliefs largely true, and Humanity makes them similar to ours
     Full Idea: One criterion for successful translation is that it show native beliefs to be largely true (Principle of Charity), and another is that it imputes to natives beliefs we can make sense of them having (Principle of Humanity).
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intro to Contemporary Epistemology [1985], 7.4)
     A reaction: The trouble with such guidelines is that they always have to be 'all things being equal'. Sometimes the natives are really idiotic, and sometimes their attitudes seem quite inhuman.
22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / c. Ethical intuitionism
If there are intuited moral facts, why should we care about them?
     Full Idea: Critics asked (of intuitionism) why, if moral facts are as the intuitionists say, we should care about them at all.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intuitionism [1991])
     A reaction: It is a good question, as we don't care much about other a priori truths, such as the square root of 169.
Internalists say that moral intuitions are motivating; externalist say a desire is also needed
     Full Idea: There is an internalist view of intuitionism, saying that to accept that one's action is wrong is itself to be motivated not to do it. Externalists (like Ross) say that moral judgements need the help of an independent desire to motivate us.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intuitionism [1991])
     A reaction: The internalists would be closer to Kant or Plato (for whom reason or pure ideas motivate), while externalist would favour Hume's belief/desire account of human actions. I like Kant and Plato, but Hume is more plausible. Dancy disagrees (Idea 7262).
Obviously judging an action as wrong gives us a reason not to do it
     Full Idea: It is ludicrous to say that we might accept an action is outrageously wrong and still think of this as not in itself giving us good reason to hold back.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intuitionism [1991])
     A reaction: If we think of some dreadful man-made famine in a remote continent, our judgement may well give a reason to act, but apathy usually intervenes. We are discussing a purely theoretical motive on the one hand, and an actual motivator on the other.
Moral facts are not perceived facts, but perceived reasons for judgements
     Full Idea: I intend to suggest that moral facts are best thought of not as facts perceived but as reasons recognised in the exercise of practical moral judgement.
     From: Jonathan Dancy (Intuitionism [1991])
     A reaction: I'm not convinced by this modified version. Why should the fact that someone is in pain be, in itself, a reason to prevent it? There are different cultural traditions for response to the pain of others. We are the squeamish tradition.
22. Metaethics / B. Value / 1. Nature of Value / a. Nature of value
The base for values has grounds, catalysts and intensifiers
     Full Idea: Dancy distinguishes three parts of the supervenience base of values: 1) those which ground the value ('resultance base'); 2) those which enable the ground to make something good ('enabling conditions'); 3) those which intensify or diminish value.
     From: report of Jonathan Dancy (Ethics without Principles [2004], p. 170-181) by Francesco Orsi - Value Theory 5.2
     A reaction: I really like and admire this. Dancy has focused on what really matters about values (and hence about the whole of ethics), and begun the work of getting a bit of clarity and increased understanding.