An examination of intrinsic value
Doran, Brett Michael
Master of Arts
Two conceptually distinct accounts of intrinsic value tend to dominate moral and value theory. One is the view, held prominently by J. S. Mill, in which intrinsic value is that which is valued as an end, rather than as a means to some further end. The other conception, advanced by G. E. Moore and W. D. Ross, holds intrinsic value to be the value something has in itself by virtue of its own intrinsic nature and independently of all other values and objects. In this essay, I present criticisms of each view and provide, in their place, an alternative conception of intrinsic value that avoids the failings of these prevailing accounts. This essay's account is independent of the particular valuations of persons, thus avoiding the criticism against the view represented by Mill, but remains relationally tied to persons, unlike the Moorean conception.