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Location: Tampa, Florida, United States

Saturday, September 11, 2004

What is 'intrinsic value', or is there really such a thing? the first thing to remember is that there are two strains to the notion - the 'good-in-itself' conception, and the 'sought-for-its-own-sake' conception... the good-in-itself view considers that intrinsic values are packed within the allegedly valuable thing, and that this is independently of and thus unaffected by the existance or condition of all other things, persons, and interests... the sought-for-its-own-sake view considers that intrinsic values are what are sought NOT as means to or constituent of any other ends... in other words, the alleged intrinsic value turns on a person's reasons for seeking something, rather than on the nature of the thing itself... the problem is that the discovery that something is sought for its own sake says only something about persons' motivations in pursuing those things - and says nothing about the propriety of the questing or the actual value of the things sought... in other words, the sought-for-its-own-sake version - representing persons' atitudes towards their ends - cannot deliver objective value... this is because when intrinsic value is characterized solely in terms of the reasons for which something is sought, the embrace of intrinsic value collapses into subjectivism... the good-in-itself version, however, is even less defensible...


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