Value theory, or axiology, looks at what things are good or bad, how good or bad they are, and, most fundamentally, what it is for a thing to be good or bad. Questions about value and about what is valuable are important to moral philosophers, since most moral theories hold that we ought to promote the good (even if this is not the only thing we ought to do). This Handbook focuses on value theory as it pertains to ethics, broadly construed, and provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary debates pertaining not only to philosophy but also to other disciplines-most notably, political theory and economics.

The Handbook's twenty-two newly commissioned chapters are divided into three parts. Part I: Foundations concerns fundamental and interrelated issues about the nature of value and distinctions between kinds of value. Part II: Structure concerns formal properties of value that bear on the possibilities of measuring and comparing value. Part III: Extensions, finally, considers specific topics, ranging from health to freedom, where questions of value figure prominently.

Iwao Hirose
Iwao Hirose

Table of Contents


Introduction to Value Theory: Iwao Hirose and Jonas Olson

Part I: Foundations

  1. Value and Normativity: Michael J. Zimmerman
  2. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value: Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen
  3. Doubts about Intrinsic Value: Jonas Olson
  4. Value and Desires: Graham Oddie
  5. Value and Emotions: Christine Tappolet
  6. Neutral and Relative Value: Garrett Cullity
  7. Value and Time: Krister Bykvist
  8. Monism and Pluralism about Value: Chris Heathwood
  9. Prudential Value: Valerie Tiberius
  10. Kantian Axiology and the Dualism of Practical Reason: Ralf M. Bader

Part II: Structure

  1. Value Incomparability and Incommensurability: Ruth Chang
  2. Value Superiority: Gustaf Arrhenius and Wlodek
  3. Rabinowicz
  4. General and Personal Good: Harsanyi's Contribution to the Theory of Value: John Broome
  5. Theories of Value Aggregation: Utilitarianism, Egalitarianism, Prioritarianism: Nils Holtug
  6. Organic Unities: Erik Carlson
  7. Skepticism about Value Aggregation: Iwao Hirose

Part III: Extensions

  1. Value and Cost-Benefit Analysis: Matthew D. Adler
  2. The Value of Health: Daniel Hausman
  3. Freedom and Its Value: Prasanta Pattanaik and Yongsheng Xu
  4. Value in Nature: David Schmidtz
  5. Population Axiology: M. A. Roberts
  6. The Value of Existence: Gustaf Arrhnius and Wlodek Rabinowicz