The Competition Account of Achievement‐Value

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):1018-1046 (2019)
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A great achievement makes one’s life go better independently of its results, but what makes an achievement great? A simple answer is—its difficulty. I defend this view against recent, pressing objections by interpreting difficulty in terms of competitiveness. Difficulty is determined not by how hard the agent worked for the end but by how hard others would need to do in order to compete. Successfully reaching a goal is a valuable achievement because it is difficult, and it is difficult because it is competitive. Hence, both virtuosic performances and lucky successes can be valuable achievements.
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