, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 27-41

Welfare and the Achievement of Goals

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Abstract

I defend the view that an individual's welfareis in one respect enhanced by the achievementof her goals, even when her goals are crazy,self-destructive, irrational or immoral. This``Unrestricted View'' departs from familiartheories which take welfare to involve only theachievement of rational aims, or of goals whoseobjects are genuinely valuable, or of goalsthat are not grounded in bad reasons. I beginwith a series of examples, intended to showthat some of our intuitive judgments aboutwelfare incorporate distinctions that only theUnrestricted View can support. Then, I show howthe view can be incorporated into a broadertheory of welfare in ways that do not produceimplausible consequences. This in hand, Ifinish by providing a more philosophicalstatement of the Unrestricted View and the casein its favor, and respond to some objections.