Preferentism and Self‐Sacrifice

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):18-38 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to the argument from self-sacrifice, standard, unrestricted desire-based theories of welfare fail because they have the absurd implication that self-sacrifice is conceptually impossible. I attempt to show that, in fact, the simplest imaginable, completely unrestricted desire-based theory of well-being is perfectly compatible with the phenomenon of self-sacrifice – so long as the theory takes the right form. I go on to consider a new argument from self-sacrifice against this simple theory, which, I argue, also fails. I conclude that, contrary to popular opinion, considerations of self-sacrifice do not pose a problem for preferentist theories of welfare



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,764

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

208 (#86,478)

6 months
9 (#143,289)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Chris Heathwood
University of Colorado, Boulder

Citations of this work

The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
The problem of defective desires.Chris Heathwood - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):487 – 504.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The methods of ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes Press. Edited by Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones.

View all 38 references / Add more references