Knowing What is Good For You A Theory of Prudential Value and Well-Being

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-01-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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An examination of the philosophical issues surrounding prudential value: what it is for something to be good for a person; and well-being: what it is for someone's life to go well. It critically analyzes competing approaches, and proposes a new subjective account that addresses key weaknesses of existing theories.

Author Biography

Tim E. Taylor is a visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds, UK.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. viii
Introductionp. 1
Setting the Scenep. 5
Aimsp. 5
The enumerative question and the explanatory questionsp. 5
Functional and descriptive adequacyp. 6
Well-being and prudential valuep. 8
Definition and usep. 8
Where to start?p. 10
The nature of prudential valuep. 11
Criteriap. 16
The Main Contendersp. 19
The subjective/objective distinctionp. 19
Subjective theoriesp. 21
Hedonism/mental-state theoriesp. 21
Happiness/life-satisfaction accountsp. 25
Desire-satisfaction accountsp. 28
Objective theoriesp. 31
Aristotelian theoriesp. 31
Objective-list accountsp. 33
Other theoriesp. 34
Hybrid or intermediate accountsp. 34
Functionings and capabilitiesp. 35
Objective or Subjective?p. 37
Arguments in favour of the objective approachp. 37
The horizon problemp. 38
Conflicts with value intuitionsp. 40
Arguments in favour of the subjective approachp. 47
The subjective intuitionp. 47
Sumner's argumentsp. 49
The possibility of a hybrid approachp. 53
Conclusionsp. 55
What Sort of Subjective Account?p. 57
Hedonism?p. 57
Desire-satisfaction?p. 62
The attitudinal modelp. 62
Desire and the future: the disappointment problemp. 63
The pleasant surprise problemp. 65
Desire and the present/pastp. 66
Direction of fitp. 68
Broader notions of desirep. 70
A third wayp. 72
Subjective valuingsp. 72
Subjective valuings and other statesp. 77
Why value does not 'fall through' to the reasons why we value thingsp. 81
Developing a New Subjective Accountp. 83
How states of the world can have valuep. 83
Does subjective valuing always confer value?p. 84
Idealised or filtered actual valuings?p. 85
A variant: valuing plus desirep. 89
How states of mind can have valuep. 90
What kinds of states of mind?p. 90
Two part or unified account?p. 95
Unity at a deeper level?p. 96
Variation between individuals and casesp. 98
Conclusionp. 101
Modifications to the Basic Approachp. 103
The rationale for conditionsp. 103
Scope conditionsp. 104
Remotenessp. 104
Intrinsic vs. extrinsicp. 112
Subject's indifferencep. 114
Information conditionsp. 114
Authenticity conditionsp. 121
Normative conditionsp. 125
Conclusionsp. 127
Conflicts and Comparisons of Valuep. 129
Conflictsp. 129
Cases where something is valued positively and negatively in different respectsp. 130
Cases where a higher-order valuing has the opposite polarity to a lower-order one, or to a pleasure or painp. 132
Cases where something is valued positively and negatively at different timesp. 138
Complicating factorsp. 138
Measurementp. 141
Ordinal comparisonsp. 141
What underlies 'strength'p. 142
How far can we go in quantifying value?p. 147
Conclusionsp. 148
Well-Beingp. 150
An account of well-beingp. 150
A bottom-up accountp. 150
The rivals: top-down approachesp. 153
Comparison and measurement of well-beingp. 162
Principlep. 162
Practicep. 166
Conclusionsp. 170
Overviewp. 172
Summaryp. 172
How far have we succeeded?p. 175
Notesp. 180
Bibliographyp. 190
Indexp. 195
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