In this paper, I defend what I call Consequentialism about Meaning in Life, the view that (1) one’s life is meaningful at time t just in case one’s surviving at t would be good in some way, and (2) one’s life was meaningful considered as a whole just in case the world was (or will be) made better in some way for one’s having existed.
In her recent Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, “Good-For-Nothings”, Susan Wolf (2011) argues against welfarism about value by appeal to great works of art, literature, music, and philosophy. Wolf gives three main arguments, which I call The Superfluity Argument, The Explanation of Benefit Argument, and The Welfarist’s Mistake. In this paper, I reconstruct these arguments and explain where, in my view, each goes wrong.
There is a simple but powerful argument against the human practice of raising and killing animals for food (RKF for short). It goes like this: 1. RKF is extremely bad for animals. 2. RKF is only trivially good for human beings Therefore, 3. RKF should be stopped. While many consider this argument decisive, not everyone is convinced. There have been four main lines of objection to it. In this paper, I provide new responses to these four objections.
What is the role of pleasure in determining a person’s well-being? I start by considering the nature of pleasure (i.e., what pleasure is). I then consider what factors, if any, can affect how much a given pleasure adds to a person’s lifetime well-being other than its degree of pleasurableness (i.e., how pleasurable it is). Finally, I consider whether it is plausible that there is any other way to add to somebody’s lifetime well-being than by giving him some pleasure or helping (...) him to avoid some pain. (shrink)
In this paper, I set out and defend a new theory of value, whole-life welfarism. According to this theory, something is good only if it makes somebody better off in some way in his life considered as a whole. By focusing on lifetime, rather than momentary, well-being, a welfarist can solve two of the most vexing puzzles in value theory, The Badness of Death and The Problem of Additive Aggregation.
In this article, I attempt to resuscitate the perennially unfashionable distinctive feeling theory of pleasure (and pain), according to which for an experience to be pleasant (or unpleasant) is just for it to involve or contain a distinctive kind of feeling. I do this in two ways. First, by offering powerful new arguments against its two chief rivals: attitude theories, on the one hand, and the phenomenological theories of Roger Crisp, Shelly Kagan, and Aaron Smuts, on the other. Second, by (...) showing how it can answer two important objections that have been made to it. First, the famous worry that there is no felt similarity to all pleasant (or unpleasant) experiences (sometimes called ‘the heterogeneity objection’). Second, what I call ‘Findlay’s objection’, the claim that it cannot explain the nature of our attraction to pleasure and aversion to pain. (shrink)