Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Center for Law and Philosophy


Assuming that the value of options (actions, activities or omissions) constitutes the proximate reason for pursuing them, I will advance some considerations that encourage doubts whether we have reason to promote or to maximise value. A proper argument would require establishing a negative: that there is no reason to promote value, or something like that. Raising doubts is less demanding: it consists in explaining some aspects of the relation between values and reasons that enable us to dispense with the doubtful thesis, by illustrating alternative relations between values and reasons. Theses such as that value should be promoted bring with them a way of determining the strength of reasons (of two reasons the stronger is the one that promotes more value). Abandoning the thesis reopens the question of how to determine the strength of reasons. For the most part this task is left for another occasion. In this paper starting by outlining briefly some of the assumptions and terminology I rely on and use, I indicate the theoretical doubt about promotion of value, and proceed to outline a novel argument, to show that the disagreement is not merely terminological. The argument establishes that even though the value of things and of activities is a reason to engage with them there is a range of cases in which there is not always a reason to choose the best. The concluding section touches both on the limits of the argument, and on its importance. THE REVISION clarifies the last section of the article, adding to the arguments adduced there to support the main thesis of the paper