Bradford, Gwen. The Value of Achievements
2012, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94: 204-224.
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Emma Gordon
Abstract: This article gives an account of what makes achievements valuable. Although the natural thought is that achievements are valuable because of the product, such as a cure for cancer or a work of art, I argue that the value of the product of an achievement is not sufficient to account for its overall value. Rather, I argue that achievements are valuable in virtue of their difficulty. I propose a new perfectionist theory of value that acknowledges the will as a characteristic human capacity, and thus holds that the exercise of the will, and therefore difficulty, is intrinsically valuable.
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Comment: Proposes a new account of the value of achievements. Useful to read after learning the basics of virtue epistemology (especially work by Pritchard and Greco that builds the notion of achievement into the definition of knowledge). I use this text as an introduction to an achievement theory of well-being. I find it particularly useful in a field (well-being) that I sometimes find to be male-dominated. I use it as the main piece of reading in a well-being course, and it is good to contrast to a variety of other theories of well-being (eg hedonism, desire-fulfilment theories, etc). Can be a good primer for a discussion on whether achievements are intrinsically valuable.