I would value your help in thinking about how to use the term “valuing”. In the disreputable circles I run in, people tend to say that valuing is a higher order attitude that babies, who admittedly have lots of desires, lack. Some say, for example that one’s valuings are expressed only in what you want yourself to want, or what you believe good, and babies will lack such complicated attitudes. This has led Eden Lin to say that subjective views have a problem in that the typical subjectivist views, which tend to claim the well-being or reasons determining attitude is a more complex higher order attitude, cannot capture the well-being of babies.
I think the word valuing is used to point toward our authentic evaluative take on the world. The heroin addict desires heroin but does not value it because her first order desire does not speak for her or express her evaluative point of view. But because creatures with an evaluative point of view can differ so widely in other ways, it seems to me which attitudes speak for an agent can differ quite widely as well. That is, I want to try out saying, what it is for different creatures to value something can be quite different depending on their capacities and depth of attitudes. A baby has a very simple evaluative point of view. They don’t second guess their initial instincts the way us sophisticates do. But still, there is a clear sense in which they care about stuff and have an evaluative point of view.
So I think we should say that babies value stuff by having first order unsophisticated pro-attitudes towards stuff but us sophisticates value stuff in more complicated ways. Then we subjectivists can say that what grounds an agent’s well-being or reasons or whatevs is what the agent values and still have a view that has hopes of being adequate to adults and babies both. Of course none of this would make any easier finding a persuasive account of which attitudes speak for sophisticates—that hard task will remain.
Now I agree that is sounds a bit weird to speak of a babies values. But I think this is perhaps because there is a simpler word to use in their case whereas there is not in the adult case. Further, we are used to thinking about valuing only in the case of adults. A toy model: if we thought something like an agent’s values are reflected in her highest order unrenounced attitudes, we subjectivists could say that a creatures valuings determine her good and have that possibly fit both babies and sophisticates.1