What do Philosophers Mean by "Intrinsic Value"?

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What do Philosophers Mean by "Intrinsic Value"?

Post  jvollmer57 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:54 pm

Whenever I listen in to philosphers chat and argue, or whenever I read something written by a philosopher, I very often hear or read them use the term "intrinsic." What does it mean for something to have intrinsic value? What does it mean for something to be intrinsically good? Can something be good without being intrinsically good? Thanks!!

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Re: What do Philosophers Mean by "Intrinsic Value"?

Post  Aught3 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:39 am

Intrinsic value is something that is valued for it's own sake. A common example is happiness. We might value good food, time with friends, and a secure job. But this is not because these things have value in and of themselves but because they tend to promote happiness. We seek these things so we might achieve happiness. So why then do we seek happiness? Because it is a value worth seeking for it's own sake. The experience of happiness has intrinsic value and has no utility beyond that.

And yes, something can be good (i.e. time with friends) without being intrinsically good.

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Re: What do Philosophers Mean by "Intrinsic Value"?

Post  jvollmer57 on Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:55 am

Aught3 wrote:Intrinsic value is something that is valued for it's own sake.

Do there have to be things that hold intrinsic value? What if we valued nothing for its own sake? Could we reasonably argue that there is nothing that holds intrinsic value? We only value those things that bring us closer to whatever end we happen to be seeking at the moment. But once we achieve a particular end, we use that end as a means to another valued end.

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Re: What do Philosophers Mean by "Intrinsic Value"?

Post  Aught3 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:52 am

Yes, you could make a reasonable argument that intrinsic value does not exist.

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