ISSN 1135-1349
Issue #16 -- December 2005. Pp. 82-92
What is a Value Judgement?
Copyright © by SORITES and Georg Spielthenner
What is a Value Judgement?
Georg Spielthenner

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of a value judgement. For ethical research a clear notion of value judgements is important for at least three reasons. Firstly, moral judgements are a certain kind of value judgements. Therefore, we can never get a clear concept of a moral judgement if we do not first know what a value judgement is. Secondly, if we do not know this, we cannot know how to justify moral judgements and therefore a well-founded normative ethics becomes impossible because this branch of ethical theory should enable us to justify our judgements about what things, acts, or qualities are good or bad, right or wrong. Thirdly, if there is no well-founded normative ethics, there is also no well-founded applied ethics, since the latter is at least partly the application of general normative theories to ethical problems.

In this paper I present my view on this problem, which is a version of non-descriptivism (or non-cognitivism) that is similar to, but not identical with, traditional non-descriptivist theories. The thesis I want to explain and argue for is that a person expresses his attitude towards something if and only if he makes a value judgement about this thing. In other words, I will defend the view that the expression of an attitude is a necessary and sufficient condition for making a value judgement. That is, if a person expresses in her judgement an attitude, she makes a value judgement and her judgement is not a value judgement if no attitude is expressed. Put more precisely, my thesis is that:

S makes a value judgement about x if and only if S expresses his attitude towards x.

The phrase `makes a value judgement' is ambiguous. We can mean by it that we utter a value judgement, but obviously we can also make a judgement without expressing it. Usually, moral philosophers mean that we utter an evaluation when they say that we make a value judgement. In this paper I will keep to this tradition. It must, however, be emphasized that my account can also be applied to judgements that are not expressed. But this would require more space than I have here.

In what follows I will first explain this thesis by (I) clarifying the concept of an attitude, in (II) I defend the identity between having an attitude towards something and evaluating it, in (III) I distinguish value judgements from judgements that only seem to be evaluative, in (IV) I clarify what I mean by `expressing an attitude', and in section (V) I give an argument for my view. I will, however, begin this paper by explaining in a very sketchy way what is novel about my account and why I think it is preferable to other meta-ethical theories. In short, my conception is an attempt to remedy the faults of rival theories while preserving their insights. To make this plausible, I will first deal with cognitivism.

Cognitivists (or, as I prefer to say, descriptivists) are partly right in many respects: Even though it is not correct that we make always an assertion about something if we make a value judgement about it, sometimes we do make an assertion if we evaluate something. Descriptivists are right when they emphasize that we can give logical reasons for our value judgements and not only explanatory reasons; they are also right when they claim that value judgements can be true or false; and when they are convinced that we can err when we make value judgements. My theory is in accordance with these insights, but in addition, it can also explain why all these claims of the descriptivists are only correct for some kinds of value judgements and not for all. More importantly, descriptivists are wrong in claiming that every evaluation of something is basically only a description of it and nothing more. I think the meta-ethical debate of the last century has sufficiently shown the inadequacy of this view. We have to distinguish between the evaluation of a thing and its description, but all versions of descriptivism are unable to make this distinction in a satisfactory way.

Since my account is a version a non-descriptivism, the difference to other theories of this kind is smaller but nevertheless considerable. (a) Emotivism was rightly criticised for its inability to distinguish between the causal problem of influencing attitudes and the logical problem of justifying our value judgements. In Stevenson's view, `[a]ny statement about any matter of fact which any speaker considers likely to alter attitudes may be adduced as a reason for or against an ethical judgement' (1944, p. 114). Obviously, this account fails to differentiate between explanatory and logical reasons. My conception does not blur this distinction. (b) According to R. Hare's prescriptivism, value judgements are necessarily prescriptive. A normative judgement is prescriptive if to subscribe to it is to be committed, on pain of being accused of insincerity, to doing this action, or, if someone else is required to do it, to willing that he does it. There are many problems connected with the prescriptive meaning of value judgements which I cannot discuss here. To my mind, Hare has not been successful in clarifying the prescriptive meaning of value judgements and more importantly, I think it is fair to say that his view that utilitarianism is the consequence of the universalizability and prescriptivity of ethical judgements is not convincing. I think I can give a clearer account of what value judgements are and how they can be justified.Foot note 1_1 (c) The difference to other kinds of expressivismFoot note 1_2 is less serious because my conception is itself a version of expressivism. I think, however, that I have explained more clearly than, for example, A. Gibbard or S. Blackburn what an attitude is and what it means to express an attitude. In addition, the other expressivists have (to my knowledge) neither distinguished between cognitive and non-cognitive attitudes nor between descriptive and non-descriptive value judgements and they have therefore not seen the relevance of these distinctions for the justification of value judgements. In short, I think I have developed a more detailed account of the nature of value judgements and their justification, but I have not dealt with the metaphysical and epistemological implications of my conception, as this has been done especially by Blackburn. Thus, my account and the investigations of these other expressivists are at least partly complementary. After these brief remarks about the relationship of my account to other meta-ethical theories, I will now explain my view of value judgements.


The term `attitude'Foot note 1_3 is also used in everyday discourse and refers there to a way of thinking (an example being when we say that a businessman does not have a professional attitude), but also to beliefs and convictions (when we say, for instance, that there is a change in public attitude towards abortion). However, in ethics `attitude' is a technical term which differs in meaning from these everyday expressions. The essence of an ethical attitude is being for or against something. There are many things which are not indifferent to us. Most people are against wars, famines or torture and for freedom, peace and education. This means, they have a con-attitude (a negative attitude) towards the former things and a pro-attitude (a positive attitude) towards the latter ones. This general characterization can be supplemented by a negative explanation. A person has an attitude towards an object if and only if she is not indifferent to it. I am indifferent to the fact that the number 2 is a prime number. That I am indifferent to it means that I am neither for nor against it, and this means that I have no attitude towards this proposition.Foot note 1_4 I am not indifferent to the fact that many people live in poverty and misery, and this means that I have an attitude towards it. The following two definitions can put more precisely what I have said so far:Foot note 1_5

S has an attitude towards x if and only if S is for or against x.

S has an attitude towards x if and only if S is not indifferent to x.

These definitions of `attitude' are very general, broader than the definitions usually given in the social sciences,Foot note 1_6 but in philosophy as well.Foot note 1_7 It is, however, this concept most ethicists refer to when they use itFoot note 1_8 or analyse it,Foot note 1_9 and it includes exactly those elements that are essential for the `evaluative attitudes' that are relevant to ethics.

So far I have defined attitudes as being for or against something. It seems, however, that I must explain this definition as well. What does it mean to be for or against something? In philosophy and psychology it is usual to explain this as a disposition.Foot note 1_10 Dispositions are said to be not directly observable tendencies to react in a given situation in a specific way. Traditionally, psychologists have investigated three groups of such reactions that manifest attitudes. (a) Cognitive reactions are, for example, our beliefs in something; (b) affective reactions are emotions towards the object of an attitude; and (c) conative reactions which are the tendencies of persons to act in a certain way in relation to the object of the attitude. For example, when a person has a pro-attitude towards quiet flats (i.e. is for such flats), she will show this cognitively, for instance, in her wondering how to get such a flat, conatively in her being motivated to rent one, and affectively by her happiness when she has found such a flat. The idea is that being for or against something is not, or, at least, not necessarily, a conscious state, but a tendency to react in a certain way. Only these manifestations are said to be conscious and observable at least introspectively.

However, I will not attempt here to define the meaning of being for or against something by referring to the concept of a disposition because this concept is burdened with many problems and therefore the definiens would be more unclear than the definiendum. These problems are not only of a philosophical nature (logical, epistemological, and semantic), but there are also empirical problems. Even if a series of psychological investigations show that attitudes are related to cognitive, affective, and conative reactions,Foot note 1_11 they have failed to specify them in a way which could significantly improve our understanding of attitudes. In particular, the relation between being for or against something and actions is still relatively undetermined because it is obvious that actions are not only influenced by attitudes but also by a number of other factors.Foot note 1_12 Therefore, I will not analyse the concept of being for or against something any further, but will treat it as a basic concept. This seems to me no problem because I think every adult person knows what it means to be for or against something. There is thus no need for a further analysis of this concept. Similar to pleasure and pain, it seems that being for or against something cannot be analysed satisfactorily, but, as with pleasure and pain, we are so acquainted with them that there is also no need for such an analysis.Foot note 1_13

However, some distinctions will be useful to prevent misunderstandings. It is obvious that there are many different ways of being for or against something. When I wish that something is the case, I am, in a way, for it, but I am also for it, when I want it. But wishing and wanting are not the same. Similarly, I am against something when I despise it, but also when I disapprove of it. Nevertheless we have to distinguish between these concepts. Already these few examples can suggest that there are different kinds of attitudes. I think this is correct and a number of philosophers have been of the same opinion.Foot note 1_14 However, if there are these kinds of attitudes, then `attitude' is a generic term. This would imply, firstly, that there is some feature which is common to all attitudes and, secondly, that there are distinguishing features (a differentia specifica) which, when added to or combined with the generic feature, mark off the different kinds of attitudes. I think both are true. The feature which is common to all attitudes is being for or against something. Whenever we approve or disapprove of something, find something beautiful or ugly, good or bad, we are either for or against it. To determine the distinguishing features is a difficult task. Urmson (1968, pp. 48-61) and Pitcher (1958) have tried to find them for approvals, Swinburne (1985) for desires, and Anscombe (1963) has analysed the concept of wanting. I am not convinced that they have given adequate analyses of these attitudes, but their investigations, and also those of many others, show that it is possible to determine the distinguishing features of different attitudes. Philosophers have analysed many kinds of (evaluative) attitudes. All of them have in common that they are ways of being for or against something.Foot note 1_15 Even though it is very desirable to determine also the distinguishing features of different attitudes, for our present purpose we need only the common feature of all attitudes, namely that they are ways of being for or against something.


Having explained what I mean by `attitude', I will now defend the equivalence between having an attitude towards something and evaluating it. In short, my thesis is that:

S evaluates x if and only if S has an attitude towards x.

I have argued extensively for this thesis of the equivalence between `evaluating a thing x' and `having an attitude towards x'.Foot note 1_16 In this paper I give only one argument which may also be useful to illustrate what I mean by evaluating something and having an attitude towards it. The argument starts from the notion of evaluating something. I will try to show that to evaluate something means to be for or against it, or in other words, not to be indifferent to it.

Let us take four different situations: (a) If we consider states of affairs and events which we clearly and undoubtedly evaluate, for instance, pain, wars, torture, but also happiness, health, or joy, then we will see that we are not indifferent to them. We are either for or against them. When I find a piece of music beautiful, an action mean, or a medical treatment painful, then I am not indifferent to these things. It is, for example, paradoxical to say, `Beethoven's ninth symphony is beautiful, but I don't like it,' if we mean `beautiful' really in an evaluative sense. (b) On the other hand, we can consider cases that are not evaluative. Years ago I had to teach students whose knowledge of history was very poor. But since I knew that this was the result of their difficult living conditions, I did not blame them. I did not evaluate the students negatively and so I did not have a con-attitude towards them. (c) But there are situations where we are clearly for or against something. When we learn about child abuse, torture, or abductions (especially when we are personally involved in such cases), we are not indifferent. We are against such incidents. At the same time we evaluate them. It is not the case that we are against such events but do not evaluate them. But this means that we evaluate something if we are for or against it. (d) Finally, let us consider cases which are indifferent for us. If I am indifferent to the order of my books on the shelf, to the current weather in Patagonia, or to the question whether the number 284 is divisible by 3, then I am not evaluating these things. In this case I do not judge, for instance, that Marx's books must not be placed next to the Canon Law, that the weather in Patagonia should be better or that it is bad that 284 is not divisible by the number three.

Already these few simple examples seem to me sufficient to justify my claim that the nature of valuing lies in being for or against something -- or to formulate it with greater precision, that a subject S evaluates an object x if and only if S is for or against x (or is not indifferent to x). In any case, this result follows from the points (a) and (c) and from (b) and (d) as well. That is, if it is correct what I have said in (a) and (c) or in (b) and (d), then I have shown that evaluating something is tantamount to being for or against it because this result follows logically from (a) and (c) and also from (b) and (d).

In the light of what has been said so far, the following argument for the correctness of my thesis of the identity of attitudes and evaluation can be given. As pointed out, a person has an attitude towards an object if and only if she is for or against it, and we are for or against something exactly when we evaluate it. From these two premises follows that a person evaluates a thing exactly when she has an attitude towards it. With greater precision this argument can be put as follows: (1) S has an attitude towards x iff S is for or against x. (2) S evaluates x iff S is for or against x. (3) Therefore, S evaluates x if and only if S has an attitude towards x. Premise (1) is the in section (I) presented and defended definition of attitudes. Premise (2) is the result of this section's explanation of the concept of an evaluation. The conclusion (3) is the thesis of the identity between attitudes and evaluations, which follows logically from the two premises. This means, if the premises are correct, the conclusion must be so as well and I am justified in using these terms interchangeably.


Since the main thesis of this paper says that we express an attitude towards something if we make a value judgement about it, judgements are often not value judgements even if they seem to be because they contain words like `good', `should', or `must'. We are often tempted to regard such judgements as value judgements; nevertheless they are sometimes at best pseudo value judgements. Let us consider some kinds of them. (a) Reporting `value judgements' report an evaluation but they are not evaluative themselves. If someone says, `You should go to church on Sundays,' then it can be that he is only reporting an obligation. Such judgements seem to be value judgements. On closer examination, however, it turns out that they are statements about value judgements. They state that it is a duty to go to church on Sundays, which is a (true or false) statement, but not a value judgement. Another kind of reporting `value judgements' are some judgements about conventions. If someone says, for instance, that men must stand up when they greet a lady, he may only be reporting a convention without supporting it. In this case, however, he is not making a value judgement. What is reported can also be standards. Urmson (1968, pp. 62-71) criticises the view that value judgements express attitudes by emphasizing that persons may only use standards when they assert an evaluative judgement. In this case they would not express an attitude. For example, a shop assistant in a grocery might use a standard for cheese when he says, `This is excellent cheese,' without expressing herewith his attitude towards the cheese. Urmson is correct in stressing this point, but he has overlooked the fact that in this case this judgement is not a value judgement, but a statement claiming that the cheese meets the standards for excellent cheese. (b) Also hypocritical `value judgements' are in my view not value judgements. When a husband says that he should be faithful to his wife, without attaching any importance to faithfulness, then he is not making a value judgement -- even if, on first sight, he seems to make (c) Also many `value judgements' in the third person are de facto not value judgements. `John won't think that's a good idea,' need not be a value judgement. I can only express the (true or false) belief that John will not like it. However, judgements in the third person can be evaluative. If a child says, `Mother has forbidden me to nibble between meals,' she can utter a value judgement. She does so, if she expresses an attitude in uttering this judgement.Foot note 1_17 Even though we tend to regard such pseudo value judgements as genuine value judgements, they are not evaluative. Not every judgement which looks like a value judgement on the surface is one on closer examination, and often judgements which seem to be pure statements are in fact value judgements. Whether or not a judgement is a value judgement cannot easily be seen.


My thesis claims that value judgements express attitudes. It is this view which makes my theory `expressivistic',Foot note 1_18 and therefore I must explain what I mean by `expressing an attitude'.

That we express attitudes when we make value judgements is a view taken by many. The question, however, is what this metaphor means. To start with, it is the judging person who expresses her attitude. Some authors are at least misleading when they write that judgements or concepts express attitudes.Foot note 1_19 Evaluations are expressed by persons (and eventually by other entities) and they express them by making judgements. (Please note that `making judgements' must be understood as explained in the introduction.) Other philosophers think that terms are expressive.Foot note 1_20 But together with Brandt (1996) I take the view that only judgements can be expressive, strictly speaking. I can express my attitude by saying, `that was cruel,' but only in specific contexts by `cruel' alone, and in those cases this word is a judgement itself.

Even though many authors take the view that value judgements express attitudes, only a few have seen the need to analyse this concept. One of these few is Smart (1984), who holds that the assertion of a sentence expresses an attitude if we (the recipients) can probabilistically conclude that the judging person has an attitude (see p. 40), and he attaches great importance to his view that not sentences but only their assertions express attitudes.Foot note 1_21 But this explanation is unsatisfactory because a person can express her attitude towards something even though we have no reason to conclude that she has an attitude towards it. This happens often when we are dealing with foreign cultures or when we are confronted with languages which we speak only badly. But it can even happen when we make a judgement such as, `Mr. X didn't congratulate Ms. Y on her birthday.' This can be a value judgement (X can be blamed for not doing so), but we need not have a reason to infer an attitude of the judging person. Therefore, it is necessary to have a closer look at this concept.

To understand the meaning of `expressing and attitude', we must first distinguish between the description and the expression of an attitude. If someone says that he disapproves of the death penalty, then he is making a statement about his attitude. What he says is true if he really disapproves of it and false if he does not do so. If a person claims that the death penalty should be abolished (and is really committed to her judgement), then she is expressing an attitude, but does not claim that she has one. It was this simple but fundamental distinction between expressing and describing attitudes, which distinguishes emotivism (and other versions of non-descriptivism) from the so-called ethical subjectivism (a version of descriptivism or cognitivism).Foot note 1_22 For ethical subjectivism value judgements are statements about attitudes (descriptions of them), for emotivistic and expressivistic theories they are expressions of attitudes (which, however, does not necessarily mean that they are only this).

To clarify what it means to express an attitude, I will begin with an example that can illustrate the essential elements of my analysis. Let us take the judgement, `The Jupiter Symphony was composed by Mozart.' This can be a value judgement and I will here assume that it is one. Let us examine the implications of this judgement. (1) I believe that Mozart composed the symphony. That is, I have a belief about the object of my evaluation. (2) I assert in my judgement what I believe about this object (namely that this symphony was composed by Mozart). (3) I have an attitude to the Jupiter Symphony. If I am indifferent to it, my judgement is not a value judgement. When I say, for instance, `The piano sonata K. 457 was written by Mozart,' but do not have an attitude towards this sonata, I do not utter a value judgement, but only a statement. (4) I have also an attitude towards what I believe about the Jupiter Symphony, namely that Mozart composed it. My judgement, `The Jupiter Symphony is in C major,' is not a value judgement, even if I have an attitude towards this symphony, but not to its key. (5) I have my attitude towards this symphony because I have an attitude towards its composer. If I had an attitude towards the Jupiter Symphony only because it is in C major and not because it was composed by Mozart, my judgement, `The Jupiter Symphony was composed by Mozart', would not be a value judgement, even if I have an attitude towards this symphony.

This example suggests the following analysis of the concept `expressing an attitude':

S expresses in his or her judgement about x an attitude towards x, if (1) S has his or her attitude towards x at least partly (a) because S has an attitude towards something that S believes about x or (b) because this attitude was caused by non-cognitive factors; and (2) what is believed about x or this non-cognitively caused attitude is (a) asserted by the judgement or (b) the reason for the chosen expression (often, but not always, on the basis of linguistic conventions).

Some examples of value judgements will be useful to illustrate this analysis. Mr. A, a pious Christian, is against abortion and expresses his disapproval by saying, `Abortion is an offence against God's will.' The object of his evaluation (what he evaluates) is abortion (or the proposition that abortions are carried out). A has an attitude towards abortions, and he has it at least partly because he believes that they are against God's will, to which he has an attitude as well (he disapproves of acting against God's will). In addition, he is stating what he believes. (This example satisfies the conditions 1a and 2a.)

However, Mr. A could express his disapproval in a different way, for example, by judging, `Abortion is a sin.' Also in this case he has a negative attitude because he believes that abortion is against God's will (and he has a con-attitude towards this as well), but he does not assert that. What he believes is the reason why he calls abortion a sin. (The example satisfies the conditions 1a and 2b.)

Let us take a third case. Ms. B tells her friend, `I despise greed for money.' Let us assume that this is a value judgement (undoubtedly, it can be one but it is not necessarily one). In this case B has an attitude towards greed for money (she despises it). Ex hypothesi, she has this attitude because of her upbringing (we assume that she has acquired this attitude through operant conditioning).Foot note 1_23 This means, Ms. B is not against greed for money because she believes that avarice has certain qualities but because of some purely psychological processes; and this means, in other words, that her attitude was caused by non-cognitive factors. She asserts in her judgement that she has an attitude (in saying that she despises greed for money) -- which, however, does not preclude that she also expresses this attitude. (This example satisfies the conditions 1b and 2a.)

Finally, let us consider a fourth case. A groans, his face contorted with pain, `Damn headache!' This is a value judgement if A expresses an attitude by uttering it. We assume also here that this attitude was not caused by cognitive factors, that is, we assume that it is non-cognitive. However, A does not state that he has this attitude. The attitude is the reason for the chosen linguistic expression `damn headache'. A could have chosen other ways of expressing his pain. The way we express our attitudes is to a large extent determined by linguistic convention. For example, the word `cool' has been a term used by many to express their pro-attitudes. But not all expressions of attitudes are in this way determined by conventions. `He is a foreigner' can express an attitude, but in my opinion there is no linguistic convention according to which `foreigner' is a term which expresses attitudes.Foot note 1_24 (This fourth example satisfies the conditions 1b and 2b.)


So far I have explained what I mean by the thesis that expressing an attitude is sufficient and necessary for making a value judgement. In this section I will put forward an argument for it. Elsewhere I have given a number of reasons,Foot note 1_25 but here I must confine myself to one succinct argument.

One can argue for my thesis in a logically valid way as follows: (1) S makes a value judgement about x iff S expresses an evaluation of x. (2) S evaluates x iff S has an attitude towards x. (3) If S evaluates x exactly when S has an attitude towards x, then S expresses her evaluation of x exactly when S expresses her attitude towards x. It follows from this (4) that S makes a value judgement about x if and only if S expresses her attitude towards x.

Explanation: The first premise makes an uncontroversial assertion about value judgements. It is a truism that we evaluate something if we make a value judgements about it. The second premise is the thesis of the equivalence between evaluating and having an attitude. I have given one argument for it in section II (but more elsewhere). The third premise seems to me unproblematic and self-evident. If a person evaluates a thing exactly when she has an attitude towards it (as premise 2 says), then she will express her attitude towards this thing exactly when she expresses her evaluation of it. If having an attitude towards x is tantamount to evaluating it, then expressing an attitude towards x is tantamount to expressing an evaluation of it. The conclusion (4) follows logically from the premises (1) -- (3). This conclusion, however, is the main thesis of this paper, namely that we make a value judgement about something if and only if we express an attitude towards it.


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Georg Spielthenner

University of Zambia

<georg_spielthenner at>

[Foot Note 1_1]

I have dealt with the problem of justifying value judgements at length in Spielthenner (2003, 238-59) and will do so again in a forthcoming paper.

[Foot Note 1_2]

See e.g. Gibbard (1983; 1990; 1992) or Blackburn (1993; 1998).

[Foot Note 1_3]

Since it is important to distinguish the use of a term from its mention, I will use single quotation marks when I mention a term.

[Foot Note 1_4]

Stevenson (1944, 4, 13) says in this context that we give only a `detached' or `disinterested description' of something. As Broad (1985, 48) points out, rightly, we must distinguish between two kinds of indifference, namely (a) the `balanced indifference' which we have when our pro- and con-attitudes to a thing cancel each other out, and (b) an `uninterested indifference' which we have when we have neither a positive nor a negative attitude to an object. As already said, I mean by `indifferent' this second kind of indifference.

[Foot Note 1_5]

These definitions are precising (or reforming) definitions. This means, they are intended to make the meaning of terms, which are already used in ordinary language, more precise to make them herewith more useful. But such definitions do not give a completely new meaning to the definiendum.

[Foot Note 1_6]

Compare, for example, Rockeach (1973).

[Foot Note 1_7]

For Edwards (1955, 29), the concept of an attitude comprises the disposition to encourage others to act accordingly, which is a much narrower concept.

[Foot Note 1_8]

For example Stevenson (1944; 1963), Nowell-Smith (1957), Perry (1926; 1954). Perry uses the term `interest', but he refers by it to the same concept. In a similar way Dreier (1997, 87) refers to this concept by using `desire'. Many philosophers use the term `desire' (e.g. Broad, 1985), but it is more restricted than `attitude' and therefore less suitable. For example, we cannot desire something that happened in the past, but we can have an attitude to it -- and past events are ethically important.

[Foot Note 1_9]

For example Pitcher (1958).

[Foot Note 1_10]

Compare e.g. Eagly and Chaiken (1993, 1-2), Fishbein and Ajzen (1975, 8), Stevenson (1944, 60) or Urmson (1968, 41) who writes that somebody can have an attitude to a religion `whether he thinks about golf or mathematics, whether he is asleep or awake, whether he feels gay, angry, tired or bored.' A dispositional explanation for the narrower concept `desire' is also preferred by Smith (1987). But there are also philosophers who seem to see dispositions as conscious states, e.g. Richardson (1997, 52) who characterises `desire' as a `psychological state' and not as a psychological trait.

[Foot Note 1_11]

See Eagly and Chaiken (1993, 6-7).

[Foot Note 1_12]

Compare, e.g. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975). For an overview about the problem of how attitudes are related to actions see e.g. Eagly and Chaiken (1993, 155-218).

[Foot Note 1_13]

Broad (1967) writes about pleasure and pain saying that they are something `which we cannot define but are perfectly well acquainted with ...' (p. 22). It seems to me that the same is true for being for or against something.

[Foot Note 1_14]

Compare e.g. Brandt (1996, 57-8; 1998), Davidson (1985, 20, 129, 151; 1985a, 151-2), Nowell-Smith (1957, 175), Stevenson (1944, 90; 1963, 2, 223-4) and Urmson (1968, 43-4). Of course, these kinds of attitudes can then be classified, e.g. as `egoistic' or `altruistic' as proposed by Stevenson (1963, 5).

[Foot Note 1_15]

Stevenson (1944) mentions e.g. `purposes', `aspirations', `wants', `preferences', `desires', `interests', `approving', `favour', `ideals' and `aims' -- together with their contraries. Clarke (1985, 43) lists `desire', `wish', `hope' and `be interested in', and Nowell-Smith (1957, 99) gives also a list of attitudes. Besides the examples listed here, we could add e.g. `recommendation', `attraction', `admiration', `esteem' and `indignation', together with their respective antonyms. But every list is necessarily incomplete because in every ordinary language new terms emerge which can express attitudes.

[Foot Note 1_16]

See Spielthenner (2003, 3-73).

[Foot Note 1_17]

Cf. Stevenson (1963, 127). From these examples we must distinguish ironic value judgements. They are value judgements, but through the irony the evaluation is reversed. If someone says ironically, `This was really a good dinner,' he is evaluating the dinner, but in a negative way and not, as the word `good' suggests, a positive way. (To this also compare Hare, 1952, 160 and Stevenson, 1944, 83).

[Foot Note 1_18]

As the formulation of the thesis shows, I consider here only the question of when something is a value judgement for the judging person. Other authors (especially Stevenson, 1944; 1963) have also investigated the question when something is a value judgement for its recipients. Of course, there is a difference. Something can be a value judgement for the judging person, but not for the recipient, and vice versa. For a salesclerk in a music shop the judgement `This is an interpretation of Schubert's Impromptus by Radu Lupu' may be a value judgement, for a buyer, who is not very well acquainted with piano music and its interpreters, it can be a simple statement; on the other hand, the information that the CD with the Impromptus costs Euros 20 may be a statement for the seller but can be (economically) evaluative for the buyer because he thinks it is too expensive. However, my restriction to the question when something is a value judgement for the person who is judging is justified because it is this question which is essential for ethics.

[Foot Note 1_19]

Compare, e.g. Stevenson (1963, 207). Of course, we must first have an attitude, only then can we express it. It seems that some authors (e.g. Audi, 1991, 96) think that we can express attitudes without having them. In my view this is impossible. We can pretend to express an attitude (or an actor can play the expression of an attitude), but we can only express e.g. our contempt when we have it.

[Foot Note 1_20]

E.g. Edwards (1955) or Ayer (1954).

[Foot Note 1_21]

`We may deduce that someone is fond of symbolic logic from the fact of his or her assertion that symbolic logic is good stuff, but not from `Symbolic logic is good stuff' itself' (Smart, 1984, 10).

[Foot Note 1_22]

See, e.g. Ayer (1952), Edwards (1955), Stevenson (1944), or any introduction into meta-ethics.

[Foot Note 1_23]

I have discussed such acquisition of attitudes in Spielthenner (2003, 109-24).

[Foot Note 1_24]

Compare Urmson (1968, 24-37).

[Foot Note 1_25]

See Spielthenner (2003, 42-47).