The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 277–297 | Cite as

Rethinking Intrinsic Value

  • Shelly Kagan


According to the dominant philosophical tradition, intrinsic value must depend solely upon intrinsic properties. By appealing to various examples, however, I argue that we should at least leave open the possibility that in some cases intrinsic value may be based in part on relational properties. Indeed, I argue that we should even be open to the possibility that an object's intrinsic value may sometimes depend (in part) on its instrumental value. If this is right, of course, then the traditional contrast between intrinsic value and instrumental value is mistaken.

instrumental value intrinsic properties intrinsic value 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelly Kagan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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