At the heart of ethics reside the concepts of good and bad; they are at work when we assess whether a person is virtuous or vicious, an act right or wrong, a decision defensible or indefensible, a goal desirable or undesirable. But there are many varieties of goodness and badness. At their core lie intrinsic goodness and badness, the sort of value that something has for its own sake. It is in virtue of intrinsic value that other types of value may be understood, and hence that we can begin to come to terms with questions of virtue and vice, right and wrong, and so on. This book investigates the nature of intrinsic value: just what it is for something to be valuable for its own sake, just what sort of thing can have such value, just how such a value is to be computed. In the final chapter, the fruits of this investigation are applied to a discussion of pleasure, pain, and displeasure and also of moral virtue and vice, in order to determine just what value lies within these phenomena.
Michael J. Zimmerman is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Chapter 1 List of Illustrations Chapter 2 Peface Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 Defending the Concept of Intrinsic Value Chapter 5 The Bearers of Intrinsic Value Chapter 6 Analyzing the Concept of Intrinsic Value Chapter 7 Computing Intrinsic Value Chapter 8 Instances of Intrinsic Value Chapter 9 Appendix: Extrinsic Value Chapter 10 Bibliography Chapter 11 Index of Names Chapter 12 Index of Propositions 13 Index of Subjects