Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1071–1081 | Cite as

On Susan Wolf’s “Good-for-Nothings”



According to welfarism about value, something is good simpliciter just in case it is good for some being or beings. In her recent Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, “Good-For-Nothings”, Susan Wolf argues against welfarism by appeal to great works of art, literature, music, and philosophy. Wolf provides three main arguments against this view, which I call The Superfluity Argument, The Explanation of Benefit Argument, and The Welfarist’s Mistake. In this paper, I reconstruct these arguments and explain where, in my view, each goes wrong.


Welfarism Value theory Aesthetics Well-being Susan Wolf Pleasure 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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