Book Review of Scott A. Davison, On the intrinsic value of everything
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Frequently in the history of philosophical (and I may add, theological) writings, the concepts of structure and function work together to yield a fruitful metaphysical model of some kind or other. One thinks perhaps of Plato on the soul (and state); Aristotle on causality; Augustine on just war; Aquinas on just princes. Theologically, for example, the biblical notion of being created in the imago Dei has been laid out in terms of the human person’s exhibiting both a certain structure given by God, but also the person’s (or soul’s) having a certain function given by God as well. These two work together in a sort of dynamic relation: the structure makes the function possible, and the function makes the structure necessary, as it were.
Scott Davison has written a clear, impressive and fair treatment of the concept of intrinsic value. Though this text is around 150 pages, and with 132 pages of regular text, one should not be fooled by this: Davison’s analysis is nuanced, quite thorough,...