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Welfare and the Achievement of Goals

Simon Keller
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 121, No. 1 (Oct., 2004), pp. 27-41
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4321520
Page Count: 15
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Welfare and the Achievement of Goals
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Abstract

I defend the view that an individual's welfare is in one respect enhanced by the achievement of her goals, even when her goals are crazy, self-destructive, irrational or immoral. This "Unrestricted View" departs from familiar theories which take welfare to involve only the achievement of rational aims, or of goals whose objects are genuinely valuable, or of goals that are not grounded in bad reasons. I begin with a series of examples, intended to show that some of our intuitive judgments about welfare incorporate distinctions that only the Unrestricted View can support. Then, I show how the view can be incorporated into a broader theory of welfare in ways that do not produce implausible consequences. This in hand, I finish by providing a more philosophical statement of the Unrestricted View and the case in its favor, and respond to some objections.

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