VIII
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value

1

THE preceding chapters have been developed in connection with common-sense examples, of a sort that some may wish to deprecate as casuistic. No effort has been made to single out judgments about intrinsic value, and the very distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic has for the most part been disregarded. This topic must now be studied, with particular attention to its consequences on methodology.

In the sense here in question, "intrinsically good" is roughly synonymous with "good for its own sake, as an end, as distinct from good as a means to something else." Since an object may obviously be approved for its own sake, as distinct from a means to something else, this sense will not require us to depart from the first pattern of analysis, or in any way to ignore attitudes. And as we shall progressively come to see, it will not introduce any considerations that minimize the place of beliefs in ethics. The relationship between beliefs and attitudes, here no less than elsewhere, will be of central importance.

There are a number of philosophers who take judgments about intrinsic value (in a sense of "intrinsic" which, if not always precisely like that to be used here, is roughly similar to it) to have an importance that is beyond question. They distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic value (or "ultimate ends" and "means"), in the first pages of their work, and from there on emphasize the former. Now why does this emphasis seem to them warranted? Perhaps the answer is largely this:

They hold, in effect, that normative ethics admits of a division of labor. Philosophical moralists can limit their attention to intrinsic values, since these are issues to which the "speculative" methods of philosophy are suited. Questions about extrinsic value, being about things which derive their goodness at second hand, can safely be left to others -- to the statesmen, social scien­

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Ethics and Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Ethics and Language 1
  • II - Working Models 20
  • III - Some Pragmatic Aspects of Meaning? 37
  • Iv First Pattern of Analysis 81
  • V - First Pattern: Method 111
  • VI - Persuasion 139
  • VII - Validity 152
  • VIII - Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value 174
  • IX - Second Pattern of Analysis: Persuasive Definitions 206
  • X - Second Pattern: Method 227
  • XI - Moralists and Propagandists 243
  • XII - Some Related Theories 253
  • XIII - Further Observations on the Function of Definitions 277
  • XIV - Avoidability; Indeterminism 298
  • XV - Practical Implications 319
  • Index of Proper Names 337
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