Human Well-Being: The No Priority Theory
Lauinger, William Anthony
Desire-fulfillment (DF) theories and objective list (OL) theories are the two dominant types of theories of human well-being. I argue that DF theories fail to capture the good part of `good for', and that OL theories fail to capture the for part of `good for'. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of `good for', I advance a theory that places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on human well-being. The most important objection to my theory comes from OL theorists. My theory implies that, if one lacks the desire for accomplishment, or friendship, or health, etc., then this non-desired good isn't part of one's welfare. OL theorists find this implication of my theory unacceptable. However, I argue that there is no genuine worry for my theory here, because (1) the vast majority of humans just do desire accomplishment, friendship, health, etc., and stably so, and because (2) in those very rare cases where the desires for these goods are missing, we don't have sufficient reasons for thinking that the relevant non-desired goods really are part of the welfare of the agents in question.
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Nord, Erik (1993-04)