Journal of Value Inquiry 36 (4):463-472 (2002)

While hedonism has been subjected to much criticism over the years, it is still a widely endorsed axiological view. One objection that appears to be generally recognised as especially troublesome to hedonists is that their central claim, that final value accrues only to experiences of pleasure gives us a narrow view of value. Much more than pleasure is valuable for its own sake. A competing theory, preferentialism, is another widespread theory about value. According to one version of preferentialism, only the objects of preferences carry final value, and since not all of our preferences have pleasure as their object, preferentialists accuse hedonists of overlooking a great deal that is of value. For instance, if someone has a so-called external preference to the effect that, say, the Californian redwood forests should go on existing, then the world contains more value if the forests continue to exist.1 Given this, the possible pleasure someone would experience on learning that his preference is satisfied has nothing to do with this kind of value. Preferentialists therefore conclude that the hedonist perspective is not wide enough. In this work, it is argued that hedonists are entitled to reverse the argument. Preferentialists are restrained by not being able to recognize the object of value that is cherished by hedonists.
Keywords Hedonism  Preferentialism  pleasure  hedonic tone  value bearer
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DOI 10.1023/a:1021673227287
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Value Based on Preferences.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Jan Österberg - 1996 - Economics and Philosophy 12 (1):1.

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