Browsing by Subject "value theory"

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  • Aarniosuo, Mauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Assuming that living is not always categorically good or categorically bad for the life’s subject, ‘wellbeing’ must be a value that is measured on a non-ratio scale. This entails that there is no significant zero point on the wellbeing level scale. The arbitrary zero point on a non-ratio scale does not signify a lack. Thus, the states of living and non-living are incomparable from the perspective of wellbeing-related interests, for a subject does not have any wellbeing level while not alive. A similar argument was put forward already by Epicurus and Lucretius. The concepts of ‘a life worth living’ and ‘a life not worth living’ are flawed. Birth and death, as coming into existence and ceasing to exist, can never either harm or benefit a life’s subject wellbeing-wise. This is true a priori. As wellbeing levels are non-ratio values, they do not cumulate. Hence, it makes little sense in trying to compare the wellbeing values of wholes, like complete lives, especially if they are of different duration. The thesis starts from a premise of ‘wellbeing’ relating to moments of time, this being the undisputed part of the different interpretations of the term. Only after carefully examining the concept of a ‘wellbeing level’ and its features, a theory is built to address the question of how to compare values of temporal wholes. In the process, all of the possible symmetrical and asymmetrical theories of the personal value of birth and death are laid out, and their relationship with the concept of ‘wellbeing’ is analyzed. The term ‘biosignificantism’ is introduced to refer to a theory according to which birth and death may both be either beneficial or detrimental to a subject from a wellbeing-point-of-view. The claims of biosignificantism are refuted by demonstrating why a significant zero point on a non-ratio scale cannot be defined. The type of non- cumulative wellbeing that a non-ratio scale entails is logically combined with features that pose some limitations on how wellbeing may be affected either causally or non-causally. These limitations are outlined. Finally, the broad implications of a theory that is named ‘bioindifferentism’ and that reduces personal value on non-ratio wellbeing are formulated. The relevant literature that is utilized in the research is largely divided: mostly separate fields of research have been devoted to the relationship of birth and wellbeing, and, on the other hand, the relationship of death and wellbeing. This master’s thesis brings the issues together. Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons (1984) and Ben Bradley’s Well-Being & Death (2009) are central references. Past research has been largely conducted in terms of moral philosophy which seems to have led to a lot of confusions. The thesis’s axiological focus is intended to bring the discussion back to the atom level to lay down the groundwork for also ethics.