The Value of Sacrifices

Jörg Löschke
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
ABSTRACTMost authors who discuss the normative impact of sacrifices do so with regards to the impact that a sacrifice can have on the practical reasons of the agent who makes it. A different and underappreciated phenomenon of sacrifices is their other-regarding normative impact: the sacrifice of person A can have an impact on the practical reasons of person B, either by generating practical reasons for B to act in certain ways or by intensifying existing reasons of B for specific courses of action. This paper asks when and why sacrifices have such other-regarding normative impact and argues that sacrifices can have other-regarding normative impact because sacrifices can be intrinsically good. The intrinsic value of sacrifices is explained by the recursive account of value: sacrifices are intrinsically good if and because they are appropriate responses to intrinsic values, and appropriate responses to intrinsic values are themselves intrinsically good. Furthermore, sacrifices are difficult to make, and successful pursuit in difficult activities can also be intrinsically good.
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2018.1489645
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