Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons

Journal of Philosophy 120 (8):421-440 (2023)
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Uniqueness appears to enhance intrinsic value. A unique stamp sells for millions of dollars; Stradivarius violins are all the more precious because they are unlike any others. This observation has not gone overlooked in the value theory literature: uniqueness plays a starring role recalibrating the dominant Moorean understanding of the nature of intrinsic value. But the thesis that uniqueness enhances intrinsic value is in tension with another deeply plausible and widely held thesis, namely the thesis that there is a pro tanto reason to promote the good. It is argued that there is a second, distinct type of uniqueness that plays a more interesting and important axiological role: uniqueness imparts irreplaceable value. This gives occasion to develop the surprisingly undertheorized notion of irreplaceable value.

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Gwen Bradford
Rice University


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