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Gwen Bradford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714026.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 April 2021

The Value of Achievement

The Value of Achievement

(p.83) 4 The Value of Achievement

Gwen Bradford

Oxford University Press

What makes achievements valuable? The essential features of achievements—difficulty and competent causation—are sources of value for all achievements. The best account to capture their value is a perfectionist theory of value, according to which the exercise of our characteristically human capacities has intrinsic value. But not just any perfectionist account can capture the value of achievements. We must acknowledge that the will is among the characteristic capacities. Exercising the will is a matter of exerting effort. Difficult activities essentially involve the will. All achievements are difficult, and so achievements are all valuable in virtue of their difficulty. Similarly, competent causation involves an exercise of the rational capacity, and this too is valuable according to perfectionism. But the value of achievement is greater than the value of the sum of its parts. Achievements are also organic unities.

Keywords:   achievement, difficulty, effort, will, rationality, perfectionism, organic unity, value

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