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Facts and Values

Philosophical Topics 14 (2):5-31 (1986)

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  1. The Welfare-Nihilist Arguments Against Judgment Subjectivism.Anthony Bernard Kelley - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3):291-310.
    Judgment subjectivism is the view that x is good for S if and only if, because, and to the extent that S believes, under the proper conditions, that x is good for S. In this paper, I offer three related arguments against the theory. The arguments are about what judgment subjectivism implies about the well-being of welfare nihilists, people who believe there are no welfare properties, or at least that none are instantiated. I maintain that welfare nihilists can be benefited (...)
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  • Desire-Fulfillment Theory.Chris Heathwood - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 135-147.
    Explains the desire-fulfillment theory of well-being, its history, its development, its varieties, its advantages, and its challenges.
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  • Evolutionary Skepticism About Morality and Prudential Normativity.Peter Königs - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):911-928.
    Debunking arguments aim at defeating the justification of a belief by revealing the belief to have a dubious genealogy. One prominent example of such a debunking argument is Richard Joyce’s evolutionary debunking explanation of morality. Joyce’s argument targets only our belief in moral facts, while our belief in prudential facts is exempt from his evolutionary critique. In this paper, I suggest that our belief in prudential facts falls victim to evolutionary debunking, too. Just as our moral sense can be explained (...)
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  • Metaethics and Nihilism in Reginster's The Affirmation of Life.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2012 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 43 (1):99-117.
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  • What Food is “Good” for You? Toward a Pragmatic Consideration of Multiple Values Domains.Donald B. Thompson & Bryan McDonald - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):137-163.
    What makes a food good, for you? With respect to food, the expression “good for you” usually refers to the effect of the food on the nutritional health of the eater, but it can also pertain more broadly. The expression is often used by a person who is concerned with another person’s well-being, as part of an exhortation. But when framed as a question and addressed to you, as an individual, the question can require a response, calling for accountability beyond (...)
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  • Nudging and Participation: A Contractualist Approach to Behavioural Policy.Johann Jakob Häußermann - 2020 - Philosophy of Management 19 (1):45-68.
    As behavioural economics reveals, human decision-making deviates from neoclassical assumptions about human behaviour and people fail to make the ‘right’ welfare-enhancing choice. The purpose of Sunstein and Thaler’s concept of ‘nudge’ is to improve individual welfare. To provide normative justification, they argue that the only relevant normative criterion is whether the individual is ‘better off as judged by themselves’, so that the direction in which people are to be nudged is defined by their own preferences. In light of behavioural findings, (...)
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  • In Defense of Sophisticated Theories of Welfare.Benjamin Yelle - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1409-1418.
    “Sophisticated” theories of welfare face two potentially devastating criticisms. They are based upon two claims: that theories of welfare should be tested for what they imply about newborn infants and that even if a theory of welfare is intended to apply only to adults, we might still have sufficient reason to reject it because it implies an implausible divergence between adult and neonatal welfare. It has been argued we ought reject sophisticated theories of welfare because they have significantly counterintuitive implications (...)
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  • Self-Validation and Internalism in Velleman’s Constitutivism.Michael Bukoski - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2667-2686.
    Metaethical constitutivists explain reasons or normativity in terms of what is constitutive of agency. In Velleman’s paradigmatic constitutivist theory, that is the aim of self-understanding. The best-known objection to constitutivism is Enoch’s shmagency objection: constitutivism cannot explain normativity because a constitutive aim of agency lacks normative significance unless one has reason to be an agent rather than a “shmagent”. In response, Velleman argues that the constitutive aim is self-validating. I argue that this claim is false. If the constitutive aim of (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Reasons and Rationality.Caj Strandberg - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (1):63-88.
    According to a guiding idea in metaethics, there is a necessary link between the concept of normative reasons and the concept of practical rationality. This notion brings up two issues: The exact nature of this link, and the nature of rationality. With regard to the first issue, the debate is dominated by a certain standard claim. With regard to the second issue, the debate is dominated by what I will refer to as ‘subjectivism’ and ‘objectivism’ about rationality, where the latter (...)
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  • Doing Well in the Circumstances.Anna Alexandrova - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (3):307-328.
    Judgments of well-being across different circumstances and spheres of life exhibit a staggering diversity. Depending on the situation, we use different standards of well-being and even treat it as being constituted by different things. This is true of scientific studies as well as of everyday life. How should we interpret this diversity? I consider three ways of doing so: first, denying the legitimacy of this diversity, second, treating well-being as semantically invariant but differentially realizable, and, third, adopting contextualist semantics for (...)
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  • Requiring and Justifying: Two Dimensions of Normative Strength. [REVIEW]Joshua Gert - 2003 - Erkenntnis 59 (1):5 - 36.
    Many contemporary accounts of normative reasons for action accord a single strength value to normative reasons. This paper first uses some examples to argue against such views by showing that they seem to commit us to intransitive or counterintuitive claims about the rough equivalence of the strengths of certain reasons. The paper then explains and defends an alternate account according to which normative reasons for action have two separable dimensions of strength: requiring strength, and justifying strength. Such an account explains (...)
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  • Health and Autonomy.Jukka Varelius - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (2):221-230.
    Individual autonomy is a prominent value in Western medicine and medical ethics, and there it is often accepted that the only way to pay proper respect to autonomy is to let the patients themselves determine what is good for them. Adopting this approach has, however, given rise to some unwanted results, thus motivating a quest for an objective conception of health. Unfortunately, the purportedly objective conceptions of health have failed in objectivity, and if a conception of health is not acceptable (...)
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  • Intrinsic Value and the Supervenience Principle.Dale Dorsey - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (2):267-285.
    An important constraint on the nature of intrinsic value---the “Supervenience Principle” (SP)---holds that some object, event, or state of affairs ϕ is intrinsically valuable only if the value of ϕ supervenes entirely on ϕ 's intrinsic properties. In this paper, I argue that SP should be rejected. SP is inordinately restrictive. In particular, I argue that no SP-respecting conception of intrinsic value can accept the importance of psychological resonance, or the positive endorsement of persons, in explaining value.
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  • Desire-Satisfaction and Welfare as Temporal.Dale Dorsey - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):151-171.
    Welfare is at least occasionally a temporal phenomenon: welfare benefits befall me at certain times. But this fact seems to present a problem for a desire-satisfaction view. Assume that I desire, at 10am, January 12th, 2010, to climb Mount Everest sometime during 2012. Also assume, however, that during 2011, my desires undergo a shift: I no longer desire to climb Mount Everest during 2012. In fact, I develop an aversion to so doing. Imagine, however, that despite my aversion, I am (...)
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  • Can Program Explanation Confer Ontological Rights for the Cornell Realist Variety of Moral Realism?Andrew Field - unknown
    In his Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics, Alex Miller considered a defence that might be made on behalf of the moral non-reductive naturalist in response to Gilbert Harman’s explanatory objection, a response that uses Frank Jackson’s and Philip Pettit’s account of ‘program explanation.’ However, Miller went on to argue that program explanation fails to successfully defend the moral non-reductive naturalist against Harman’s objection. Recently Paul Bloomfield and Mark Nelson have argued against Miller that program explanation does in fact successfully defend the (...)
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  • Lives in the Balance: Utilitarianism and Animal Research.Robert Bass - 2012 - In Jeremy Garrett (ed.), The Ethics of Animal Research: Exploring the Controversy. MIT Press.
    In the long history of moral theory, non-human animals—hereafter, just animals—have often been neglected entirely or have been relegated to some secondary status. Since its emergence in the early 19th century, utilitarianism has made a difference in that respect by focusing upon happiness or well-being (and their contraries) rather than upon the beings who suffer or enjoy. Inevitably, that has meant that human relations to and use of other animals have appeared in a different light. Some cases have seemed easy: (...)
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  • Understanding What’s Good for Us.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):429 - 439.
    The ancient question of what a good life consists in is currently the focus of intense debate. There are two aspects to this debate: the first concerns how the concept of a good life is to be understood; the second concerns what kinds of life fall within the extension of this concept. In this paper, I will attend only to the first, conceptual aspect and not to the second, substantive aspect. More precisely, I will address the preliminary, underlying question of (...)
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  • Moral Value, Response-Dependence, and Rigid Designation.Brad Thompson - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):71-94.
    Furthermore, moral facts do seem to bear an intimate relationship to our moral attitudes and capacities. It is perhaps inconceivable that, at the end of moral deliberation and inquiry, fully rational human beings invested with our moral concepts could be radically incorrect in their moral beliefs. Moral properties seem to be essentially knowable. We hope that the fundamental truths of physics are epistemically available to us, but our conception of the physical world certainly does not guarantee it. However implausible, it (...)
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  • The Structure of Instrumental Practical Reasoning.Christian Miller - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):1–40.
    The view to be defended in this paper is intended to be a novel and compelling model of instrumental practical reasoning, reasoning aimed at determining how to act in order to achieve a given end in a certain set of circumstances. On standard views of instrumental reasoning, the end in question is the object of a particular desire that the agent has, a desire which, when combined with the agent’s beliefs about what means are available to him or her in (...)
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  • An Opinionated Guide to “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”.Chris Heathwood - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 94-113.
    Derek Parfit's monumental 1984 book Reasons and Persons contains a little appendix called "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," a mini-essay on well-being that has taken on a life of its own apart from the body to which it is attached. This paper serves as a critical guide to that appendix. Topics include: the nature of pleasure and pain and its relation to theories of well-being; the unrestricted desire-fulfillment theory and the problem of remote desires; whether a person's actual preferences (...)
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  • Experienced Utility or Decision Utility for QALY Calculation? Both.Paige A. Clayton & Douglas P. MacKay - 2018 - Public Health Ethics 11 (1):82-89.
    Policy-makers must allocate scarce resources to support constituents’ health needs. This requires policy-makers to be able to evaluate health states and allocate resources according to some principle of allocation. The most prominent approach to evaluating health states is to appeal to the strength of people’s preferences to avoid occupying them, which we refer to as decision utility metrics. Another approach, experienced utility metrics, evaluates health states based on their hedonic quality. In this article, we argue that although decision utility metrics (...)
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  • Internal Reasons and the Conditional Fallacy.Robert N. Johnson - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (194):53-72.
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  • Why Should Welfare ‘Fit’?Dale Dorsey - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):685-24.
    One important proposal about the nature of well-being, prudential value or the personal good is that intrinsic values for a person ought to ‘resonate’ with the person for whom they are good. Indeed, virtually everyone agrees that there is something very plausible about this necessary condition on the building blocks of a good life. Given the importance of this constraint, however, it may come as something of a surprise how little reason we actually have to believe it. In this paper, (...)
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  • Subjectivism and Blame.David Sobel - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (5):pp. 149-170.
    My favorite thing about this paper is that I think I usefully explicate and then mess with Bernard Williams's attempt to explain how his internalism is compatible with our ordinary practices of blame. There are a surprising number of things wrong with Williams's position. Of course that leaves my own favored subjectivism in a pickle, but still...
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  • The Simple Desire-Fulfillment Theory.Mark C. Murphy - 1999 - Noûs 33 (2):247-272.
    It seems to be a widely shared view that any defensible desire-fulfillment theory of welfare must be framed not in terms of what an agent, in fact, desires but rather in terms of what an agent would desire under hypothetical conditions that include improved information. Unfortunately, though, such accounts are subject to serious criticisms. In this paper I show that in the face of these criticisms the best response is to jettison any appeal to idealized information conditions: the considerations put (...)
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  • Monism and Pluralism About Value.Chris Heathwood - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 136-157.
    This essay discusses monism and pluralism about two related evaluative notions: welfare, or what makes people better off, and value simpliciter, or what makes the world better. These are stipulatively referred to as 'axiological value'. Axiological value property monists hold that one of these notions is reducible to the other (or else eliminable), while axiological value property pluralists deny this. Substantive monists about axiological value hold that there is just one basic kind of thing that makes our lives or the (...)
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  • Commentary on Fine.Deborah De Chiara-Quenzer - 1994 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 10 (1):244-255.
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  • Depression and the Problem of Absent Desires.Ian Tully - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (2):1-16.
    I argue that consideration of certain cases of severe depression reveals a problem for desire-based theories of welfare. I first show that depression can result in a person losing her desires and then identify a case wherein it seems right to think that, as a result of very severe depression, the individuals described no longer have any desires whatsoever. I argue that the state these people are in is a state of profound ill-being: their lives are going very poorly for (...)
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  • Subjectivism Without Desire.D. Dorsey - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (3):407-442.
    Subjectivism about well-being holds that ϕ is intrinsically good for x if and only if, and to the extent that, ϕ is valued, under the proper conditions, by x. Given this statement of the view, there is room for intramural dissent among subjectivists. One important source of dispute is the phrase “under the proper conditions”: Should the proper conditions of valuing be actual or idealized? What sort of idealization is appropriate? And so forth. Though these concerns are of the first (...)
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  • A Guided Tour Of Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics.David Plunkett & Herman Cappelen - 2020 - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-26.
    In this Introduction, we aim to introduce the reader to the basic topic of this book. As part of this, we explain why we are using two different expressions (‘conceptual engineering’ and ‘conceptual ethics’) to describe the topics in the book. We then turn to some of the central foundational issues that arise for conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics, and finally we outline various views one might have about their role in philosophy and inquiry more generally.
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  • The Moral Status of Nature : Reasons to Care for the Natural World.Lars Samuelsson - 2008 - Dissertation,
    The subject-matter of this essay is the moral status of nature. This subject is dealt with in terms of normative reasons. The main question is if there are direct normative reasons to care for nature in addition to the numerous indirect normative reasons that there are for doing so. Roughly, if there is some such reason, and that reason applies to any moral agent, then nature has direct moral status as I use the phrase. I develop the notions of direct (...)
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  • Can Welfare Be Measured with a Preference-Satisfaction Index?Willem van der Deijl - 2018 - Journal of Economic Methodology 25 (2):126-142.
    Welfare in economics is generally conceived of in terms of the satisfaction of preferences, but a general, comparable index measure of welfare is generally not taken to be possible. In recent years, in response to the usage of measures of subjective well-being as indices of welfare in economics, a number of economists have started to develop measures of welfare based on preference-satisfaction. In order to evaluate the success of such measures, I formulate criteria of policy-relevance and theoretical success in the (...)
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  • Which Desires Are Relevant to Well‐Being?Chris Heathwood - 2019 - Noûs 53 (3):664-688.
    The desire-satisfaction theory of well-being says, in its simplest form, that a person’s level of welfare is determined by the extent to which their desires are satisfied. A question faced by anyone attracted to such a view is, *Which desires*? This paper proposes a new answer to this question by characterizing a distinction among desires that isn’t much discussed in the well-being literature. This is the distinction between what a person wants in a merely behavioral sense, in that the person (...)
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  • Reasons for Emotion and Moral Motivation.Reid Blackman - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):805-827.
    Internalism about normative reasons is the view that an agent’s normative reasons depend on her motivational constitution. On the assumption that there are reasons for emotion I argue that externalism about reasons for emotion entails that all rational agents have reasons to be morally motivated and internalism about reasons for emotion is implausible. If the arguments are sound we can conclude that all rational agents have reasons to be morally motivated. Resisting this conclusion requires either justifying internalism about reasons for (...)
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  • Normativity For Naturalists.Brian Leiter - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):64-79.
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  • Can There Be a Global, Interesting, Coherent Constructivism About Practical Reason?David Enoch - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):319-339.
    More and more people seem to think that constructivism - in political philosophy, in moral philosophy, and perhaps in practical reasoning most generally - is the way to go. And yet it is surprisingly hard to even characterize the view. In this paper, I go to some lengths trying to capture the essence of a constructivist position - mostly in the realm of practical reason - and to pinpoint its theoretical attractions. I then give some reason to suspect that there (...)
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  • The Nature of Desire.Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.) - 2017 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Desires matter. What are desires? Many believe that desire is a motivational state: desiring is being disposed to act. This conception aligns with the functionalist approach to desire and the standard account of desire's role in explaining action. According to a second influential approach, however, desire is first and foremost an evaluation: desiring is representing something as good. After all, we seem to desire things under the guise of the good. Which understanding of desire is more accurate? Is the guise (...)
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  • How Kantian Must Kantian Constructivists Be?Evan Tiffany - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):524 – 546.
    Kantian constructivists locate the source of normativity in the rational nature of valuing agents. Some further argue that accepting this premise thereby commits one to accepting the intrinsic or unconditioned value of rational nature itself. Whereas much of the critical literature on this “regress on conditions” argument has focused either on the cogency of the inference from the value-conferring capacity of the will to the unconditional value of that capacity itself or on the plausibility of the initial constructivist premise, my (...)
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  • Quasi-Expressivism About Statements of Law: A Hartian Theory.Stephen Finlay & David Plunkett - 2018 - In John Gardner, Leslie Green & Brian Leiter (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, vol. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 49-86.
    Speech and thought about what the law is commonly function in practical ways, to guide or assess behavior. These functions have often been seen as problematic for legal positivism in the tradition of H.L.A. Hart. One recent response is to advance an expressivist analysis of legal statements (Toh), which faces its own, familiar problems. This paper advances a rival, positivist-friendly account of legal statements which we call “quasi-expressivist”, explicitly modeled after Finlay’s metaethical theory of moral statements. This consists in a (...)
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  • Achievement, Wellbeing, and Value.Gwen Bradford - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):795-803.
    Achievement is among the central goods in life, but just what is achievement, and how is it valuable? There is reason to think that it is a constitutive part of wellbeing; yet, it is possible to sacrifice wellbeing for the sake of achievement. How might it have been worthwhile, if not in terms of wellbeing? Perhaps, achievement is an intrinsic good, or perhaps it is valuable in terms of meaning in life. This article considers various ways in which we can (...)
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  • Ethical Pragmatism.Raff Donelson - 2017 - Metaphilosophy 48 (4):383-403.
    Beginning with a thought experiment about a mysterious Delphic oracle, this article motivates, explains, and attempts to defend a view it calls Ethical Pragmatism. Ethical Pragmatism is the view that we can and should carry on our practice of moral deliberation without reference to moral truths, or more broadly, without reference to metaethics. The defense the article mounts tries to show that neither suspicions about the tenability of fact-value distinctions, nor doubts about the viability of global pragmatism, nor worries about (...)
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  • Theory Without Theories: Well-Being, Ethics, and Medicine.Jennifer Hawkins - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (6):656-683.
    Medical ethics would be better if people were taught to think more clearly about well-being or the concept of what is good for a person. Yet for a variety of reasons, bioethicists have generally paid little attention to this concept. Here, I argue, first, that focusing on general theories of welfare is not useful for practical medical ethics. I argue, second, for what I call the “theory-without-theories approach” to welfare in practical contexts. The first element of this approach is a (...)
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  • Overriding Adolescent Refusals of Treatment.Anthony Skelton, Lisa Forsberg & Isra Black - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (3):221-247.
    Adolescents are routinely treated differently to adults, even when they possess similar capacities. In this article, we explore the justification for one case of differential treatment of adolescents. We attempt to make philosophical sense of the concurrent consents doctrine in law: adolescents found to have decision-making capacity have the power to consent to—and thereby, all else being equal, permit—their own medical treatment, but they lack the power always to refuse treatment and so render it impermissible. Other parties, that is, individuals (...)
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  • Structuring Wellbeing.Christopher Frugé - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many questions about wellbeing involve metaphysical dependence. Does wellbeing depend on minds? Is wellbeing determined by distinct sorts of things? Is it determined differently for different subjects? However, we should distinguish two axes of dependence. First, there are the grounds that generate value. Second, there are the connections between the grounds and value which make it so that those grounds generate that value. Given these distinct axes of dependence, there are distinct dimensions to questions about the dependence of wellbeing. In (...)
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  • Two Visions of Welfare.Fred Feldman - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (2):99-118.
    In earlier work I defended Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism—a view about what makes for individual personal welfare. On this view, a person’s level of welfare is entirely determined by the amounts of intrinsic attitudinal pleasure and pain he or she takes in things. The view seems to run into trouble in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in disgusting, immoral things; and in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in things that really don’t actually happen; and in cases involving (...)
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  • Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 161-174.
    This chapter surveys hybrid theories of well-being. It also discusses some criticisms, and suggests some new directions that philosophical discussion of hybrid theories might take.
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  • Desire Satisfactionism and Hedonism.Chris Heathwood - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (3):539-563.
    Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one's life go best. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism just is the most plausible form of desire satisfactionism. How can a single theory of welfare be a version of both hedonism and desire satisfactionism? The answer lies in what pleasure is: pleasure is, in my view, the subjective satisfaction of desire. This thesis about pleasure is (...)
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  • How to Study Well-Being: A Proposal for the Integration of Philosophy with Science.Michael Prinzing - 2021 - Review of General Psychology 25 (2):152-162.
    There are presently two approaches to the study of well-being. Philosophers typically focus on normative theorizing, attempting to identify the things that are ultimately good for a person, while largely ignoring empirical research. The idea is that empirical attention cannot be directed to the right place without a rigorous theory. Meanwhile, social scientists typically focus on empirical research, attempting to identify the causes and consequences of well-being, while largely ignoring normative theorizing. The idea is that conceptual and theoretical clarity will (...)
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  • A Robust Hybrid Theory of Well-Being.Steven Wall & David Sobel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2829-2851.
    This paper articulates and defends a novel hybrid account of well-being. We will call our view a Robust Hybrid. We call it robust because it grants a broad and not subservient role to both objective and subjective values. In this paper we assume, we think plausibly but without argument, that there is a significant objective component to well-being. Here we clarify what it takes for an account of well-being to have a subjective component. Roughly, we argue, it must allow that (...)
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  • Moral Value, Response-Dependence, and Rigid Designation.Brad Thompson - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (1):71-94.
    Furthermore, moral facts do seem to bear an intimate relationship to our moral attitudes and capacities. It is perhaps inconceivable that, at the end of moral deliberation and inquiry, fully rational human beings invested with our moral concepts could be radically incorrect in their moral beliefs. Moral properties seem to be essentially knowable. We hope that the fundamental truths of physics are epistemically available to us, but our conception of the physical world certainly does not guarantee it. However implausible, it (...)
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