Welfare, Meaning, and Worth


The central thesis of this book is that there is more to what makes a life worth living than welfare. I argue that the notion of worth captures matters of importance that no plausible theory of welfare can account for. Worth is best thought of as a higher-level kind of value. I defend an objective list theory (OLT) of worth¬—lives worth living are net high in various objective goods. Not only do I defend an list of some of the goods, I also defend a set of bads, a set of things that detract from the worth of a life. I defend a theory of worth, a theory of welfare, and a theory of meaning. I devote a chapter to each form of value before exploring the implications for moral theory and the viability of pessimism about the human condition.



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Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College

Citations of this work

Well-being.Roger Crisp - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mental Health Without Well-being.Sam Wren-Lewis & Anna Alexandrova - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (6):684-703.
Two Visions of Welfare.Fred Feldman - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (2):99-118.
Must Pessimists Be Suicidal?Joshua Shaw - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.

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Is it wrong to impose the Harms of human life? A reply to Benatar.David DeGrazia - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (4):317-331.

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