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  • Print publication year: 1994
  • Online publication date: May 2010

1 - The concept of intrinsic value


My main concern in this chapter is to explicate the concept of intrinsic value. I discuss and defend the view that the concept of intrinsic value may be explicated in terms of the concept of “correct” or “required” emotion. I am not especially concerned with whether this explication amounts to a definition or philosophical analysis of the concept of intrinsic value, nor am I especially interested in “reducing” the concept of intrinsic value to certain other concepts. I am simply concerned with explaining what I take intrinsic value to be or, alternatively, what it is for something to be intrinsically valuable.

I wish to begin, however, by describing certain general views belonging to one traditional way of thinking about intrinsic value. These views are among the main theses of a tradition whose representatives include Franz Brentano, G. E. Moore, W. D. Ross, and A. C. Ewing. In stating these general views, I shall be describing, in part, the core of this tradition. I do this for two reasons. First, though I shall not undertake to defend them in this chapter, I think these theses pertaining to the nature and concept of intrinsic value are both plausible and true. Second, and more important, these remarks will provide some general background against which the explication of intrinsic value may proceed. It is hoped that these remarks will help illustrate in rough outline the concept with which I am concerned.

First, the traditional view holds that if something is intrinsically good, it is not intrinsically bad or intrinsically neutral or indifferent; and if something is intrinsically bad, it is not intrinsically good or indifferent.

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Intrinsic Value
  • Online ISBN: 9780511663802
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