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Metaethics after Moore$
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Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.001.0001

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Intrinsic Value and Reasons for Action

Intrinsic Value and Reasons for Action

(p.79) 4 Intrinsic Value and Reasons for Action *
Metaethics after Moore

Robert Audi

Oxford University Press

This chapter sketches a theory of intrinsic value that aims to incorporate certain elements of Moore's theory, but which goes beyond it in important ways while also avoiding commitment to many of Moore's controversial normative and metaethical views. Moore held that experiences, and non-experiential items such as art works, can be the bearers of intrinsic value. By contrast, the chapter defends experientialism — according to which the bearers of intrinsic value are concrete experiences — partly by arguing that it is experiences that seem to have the kind of Aristotelian ‘finality’ and thus ‘choiceworthiness’ that is appropriate for anything's having intrinsic value. In order to accommodate the Moorean idea that items such as art works are in some sense ‘good in themselves’ (and not merely instrumentally good), the notion of inherent value is introduced; a species of value that is possessed by something whenever an appropriate experience of it is intrinsically good. A painting, for example, can be inherently good because an appropriate aesthetic experience of that object is itself intrinsically good. The concepts of intrinsic and inherent value, along with a Moorean principle of organic unities (suitably broadened), provide the basis for a nuanced theory of value whose merits include the recognition and explanation of a wide range of intuitively plausible value judgments, as well as contributing to a general theory of practical reason.

Keywords:   G. E. Moore, intrinsic value, experientialism, inherent value, organic unity, practical reason

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