Single Idea 18682

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / a. Nature of value]

Full Idea

The whole 'being pleased by cats being tortured' is definitely not better, and is likely worse, than cats being tortured. So its value cannot result from a sum of the intrinsic values of the parts.

Gist of Idea

A complex value is not just the sum of the values of the parts

Source

Francesco Orsi (Value Theory [2015], 5.3)

Book Reference

Orsi,Francesco: 'Value Theory' [Bloomsbury 2015], p.86


A Reaction

This example is simplistic. It isn't a matter of just adding 'pleased' and 'tortured'. 'Pleased' doesn't have a standalone value. Only a rather gormless utilitarian would think it was always good if someone was pleased. I suspect values don't sum at all.