Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 273–289 | Cite as

An Adamsian Theory of Intrinsic Value



In this paper I develop a theological account of intrinsic value drawn from some passages in Robert Merrihew Adams’ book Finite and Infinite Goods. First I explain why Adams’ work on this topic is interesting, situate his theory within the broader literature on intrinsic value, and draw attention to some of its revisionist features. Next I state the theory, raise some problems for it, and refine it in light of those problems. Then I illustrate how the refined theory works by showing that it has the resources to deal with some seemingly formidable objections.


Adams, R.M. Instrinsic value God 



Thanks to Lynne Baker, Andrew Dole, Pete Graham, Gary Mathews, James Patten, Alex Sarch, the members of Lynne and Gary’s Fall 2008 Philosophy of Religion Seminar, and the two reviewers for Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. Special thanks to Lowell Friesen for many insightful discussions of this topic over coffee. Most of all I thank Fred Feldman for extensive commentary and discussion of countless drafts of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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