Utilitas 29 (3):344-364 (2017)

Gwen Bradford
Rice University
Perfectionism, the view that well-being is a matter of developing characteristically human capacities, has relatively few defenders in the literature, but plenty of critics. This paper defends perfectionism against some recent formulations of classic objections, namely, the objection that perfectionism ignores the relevance of pleasure or preference for well-being, and a sophisticated version of the ‘wrong properties’ objection, according to which the intuitive plausibility of the perfectionist ideal is threatened by an absence of theoretical pressure to accept putative wrong properties cases. The paper argues these objections are unsuccessful, but introduce a new worry, the Deep Problem: Perfectionism fails to offer a satisfying foundational justification for why developing the human essence is valuable. The paper responds to the deep problem, ultimately arguing that it is a puzzle put to all theories of well-being to provide a justification for their normative significance.
Keywords Perfectionism  well-being
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1017/s0953820816000418
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Normativity.J. J. Thomson - 2008 - Analysis 70 (4):713-715.
The Significance of Desire.David O. Brink - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3:5-45.

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Citations of this work BETA

Well-Being.Roger Crisp - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Natural Behavior Debate: Two Conceptions of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2020 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 23 (3):325-337.
A Perfectionist Basic Structure.Avigail Ferdman - 2019 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (7):1-21.

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