David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):953-968 (2013)
Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of her such that it is affected by events that do not affect her (Kagan 1992, 169–189). These two claims—that well-being is necessarily experiential and that changes in well-being must involve changes in the person—are two different ways of specifying the general intuition that a person’s well-being must be strongly tied to her. This general intuition imposes an adequacy constraint on welfare theorizing: To be adequate, a welfare theory cannot allow that someone can be directly benefited by events that are not strongly tied to her. Call this the strong-tie requirement. The strong-tie requirement is easily satisfied by welfare hedonism, but it poses problems for desire-fulfillment welfare theories and objective-list welfare theories. Though a great deal has been written about desire-fulfillment welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement, not as much has been written about objective-list welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement. This paper argues that objective-list welfare theories can satisfy the strong-tie requirement, though probably only if they take a perfectionist form, as opposed to a brute-list form
|Keywords||Well-being Welfare Welfare hedonism Objective-list theories Desire-fulfillment theories Perfectionism|
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Derek Parfit (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford University Press.
David Owen Brink (1989). Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
John Stuart Mill (1999). On Liberty. Broadview Press.
Ben Bradley (2009). Well-Being and Death. Oxford University Press.
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