Organic unities, non-trade-off, and the additivity of intrinsic value

Journal of Ethics 5 (4):335-360 (2001)
Whether or not intrinsic value is additively measurable is often thought to depend on the truth or falsity of G. E. Moore's principle of organic unities. I argue that the truth of this principle is, contrary to received opinion, compatible with additive measurement. However, there are other very plausible evaluative claims that are more difficult to combine with the additivity of intrinsic value. A plausible theory of the good should allow that there are certain kinds of states of affairs whose intrinsic value cannot be outweighed by any number of states of certain other, less valuable, kinds. Such``non-trade-off'' cannot reasonably be explained in terms of organic unities, and it can be reconciled with the additivity thesis only if we are prepared to give up some traditional claims about the nature of intrinsic value.
Keywords additivity  basic value  intrinsic value  lexicality  G. E. Moore  organic unities
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DOI 10.1023/A:1013962220004
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