We experience that our pain (or suffering) is bad, but is everyone’s pain bad? Is it wrong to cause other people pain (at least some of the time) because their pain is bad? Many philosophers think that (at least some) pain is “intrinsically bad”—bad just for existing and worthy of being avoided for its own sake. If so, it seems reasonable to say that everyone’s pain is bad and it’s wrong to cause needless pain to others. However, this is an interpretation of our experience of pain and not everyone agrees with it. I will discuss various interpretations of what it means to experience that pain is bad: (more…)
July 14, 2011
May 20, 2011
April 29, 2011
February 18, 2011
February 1, 2011
I created a FAQ on Intrinsic Value, which is now a permanent page on this site and a free ebook. Is there a meaning of life? Is there any reason for us to be moral? If intrinsic values exist, then yes. Human life, pleasure, and happiness all seem like they are good–they all seem worthy of promoting because of how important they are. This FAQ explains my beliefs and arguments concerning intrinsic value.
Much of what I say in the FAQ could be taken as a defense of Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape. There are philosophers who agree with a lot of what Sam Harris has to say.
Go here to see the FAQ.
November 25, 2010
November 4, 2010
October 19, 2010
October 14, 2010
Does human life have intrinsic value? I proposed in my master’s thesis, Two New Kinds of Stoicism, that it does in the sense that our consciousness has value. I will similarly argue here that we have some reason to believe that human consciousness has value, and there can be different qualities of consciousness that can have differing values. I will also present the major objections that have been raised against the view that human life has intrinsic value including a famous objection given by Darek Parfit. (more…)
June 17, 2010
June 15, 2010
June 9, 2010
March 25, 2010
March 22, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 3, 2010
I have given a general outline of a moral realist perspective, but there is much more to be said. We have many moral concepts that seem relevant for morality that I have not discussed sufficiently. We need to know how these concepts relate to intrinsic values (moral realism). I do not have a fully developed account of our moral vocabulary, but I can discuss my current thoughts on these concepts. I will start my discussion of moral concepts with the following:
- Good & Bad
- Right & Wrong
January 21, 2010
January 15, 2010
“The meaning of life” actually refers to various intrinsic values—various values that “really matter.” To live a meaningful life is to attain and promote intrinsic goods. I have argued that at least one intrinsic value exists, but I believe that there are more. Let’s consider what philosophers believe to have intrinsic value:
- Good will
- Human existence
January 14, 2010
I have suggested that several things seem to “really matter.” If something “really matters,” such as happiness, then we can live a meaningful life when we promote it (such as make people happy). If something “really matters” then it has “intrinsic value.” I have argued that there is at least one meaning of life (one thing that has intrinsic value)—Pain. However, pain is “bad.” If pain is the only thing that matters, then nothing could make life worth living. I don’t want to suggest that pain is the only thing with intrinsic vale, but we need to know how to find out what has intrinsic value. I have discussed one way to provide evidence that something has intrinsic value—our moral experiences.
We can provide evidence that X has intrinsic value based on the following evidence:
- We experience X as good (or bad).
- We know X is good (or bad) for everyone.
- X’s intrinsic value explains our moral experiences.
- Our experience of X’s value can’t be fully accounted for as a “final end,” usefulness, and/or a pre-existing desire.
I will attempt to explain each of these elements of evidence: (more…)