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Volume 53 • Number 3

July 2015



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.

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ISSN: 2152-1123