An Interest-Satisfaction Theory of Value

Ethics and the Environment 3 (1):55 - 80 (1998)
In this paper, I argue that all value is rooted in the interests of valuing beings. If something satisfies an interest of a valuing entity by contributing to its well-being in some way, then it has value. Anything that fails to satisfy any interests is entirely lacking in value. I defend this conception of value by showing that the usual arguments directed against this kind of view are lacking of force, and by considering various other theories of value and showing that they suffer from serious problems. Finally, I clarify some important distinctions between intrinsic, extrinsic, inherent, and instrumental value.
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