A Painful End for Perfectionism?

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 46:233-250 (2022)
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This paper examines perfectionist attempts to explain the prudential badness of pain (its badness for those who experience it). It starts by considering simple perfectionist explanations, finding them wanting, before considering the most sophisticated perfectionist attempt to explain prudential badness: Gwen Bradford’s tripartite perfectionism. The paper argues that Bradford’s view, though an improvement on earlier perfectionist proposals, still does not satisfactorily explain the full set of prudentially bad pains. It ends by showing how this provides grounds for a general kind of pessimism about perfectionism and the badness of pain and how this case undermines a general purported advantage of perfectionism over the objective list theory.

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Guy Fletcher
University of Edinburgh


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