The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, which are presented annually at each of nine universities in the United States and England, are among the most prestigious and notable events of the academic year. This volume inaugurates a new interdisciplinary series of books based on the Tanner Lectures given at the University of California, Berkeley. The series aims to make these distinguished lectures, and the lively debates stimulated by their presentation in Berkeley, available to a broad readership. The Practice of Value explores the nature of value and its relation to the social and historical conditions under which human agents live. At the core of the book are the Tanner Lectures delivered at Berkeley in 2001 by Joseph Raz, who has been one of the leading figures in moral and legal philosophy since the 1970s. Raz argues that values depend importantly on social practices, but that we can make sense of this dependence without falling back on cultural relativism. In response, three eminent philosophers, Christine Korsgaard, Robert Pippin, and Bernard Williams, offer their own distinctive reflections on the connections between value and practice.
The book begins with an introduction by Jay Wallace, setting the scene for what follows, and ends with a response from Raz to his commentators. The result is a fascinating debate, accessible to readers throughout and beyond philosophy, about the relations between human values and human life.