Love, Beneficence, and the Hedonic Constraint
by Noah Lemos
In this paper, I present briefly a view about intrinsic value, one connected to the concepts of ethically
required attitudes of favor, disfavor, and preference. If lives can have both welfare value and intrinsic
value, how are these values related? I defend the view that the welfare value of a life does not track
the intrinsic value of that life. Some philosophers, however, deny that anything can have intrinsic
value or absolute value. Some argue that to hold that something is both bad for a person and bad
simpliciter leads to an objectionable double counting. Others hold views that would, if true, diminish
the practical importance of intrinsic value. Some hold that our relations with others should not
be guided by what is intrinsically good or bad, but only by what is good or bad for someone. Others
hold that the concepts of love, benefit, and harm are tied exclusively to welfare value or well-being.
Still others suggest that the moral principles of beneficence and non-maleficence
are tied exclusively
to welfare and well-being.
I argue that these views are mistaken. In this regard, I attempt to defend
the practical importance of intrinsic value.