David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):314-349 (2008)
In his critique of egoism as a doctrine of ends, G. E. Moore famously challenges the idea that something can be someone. Donald Regan has recently revived and developed the Moorean challenge, making explicit its implications for the very idea of individual welfare. If the Moorean is right, there is no distinct, normative property good for, and so no plausible objectivism about ethics could be welfarist. In this essay, I undertake to address the Moorean challenge, clarifying our theoretical alternatives so that we may better decide what to admit into our moral ontology and better assess what may be at stake in whether objectivists treat good or good for (or neither) as fundamental. I compare the Moorean and welfarist pictures of value, providing an account of the form and function of good for. According to this account expresses a distinct relational value that has its source in the value of persons. Good for value is thus a form of extrinsic value that provides agent-neutral reasons for action, and it plays a pervasive normative role in regulating child rearing, guiding individual life choices, and shaping social policy formation
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