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Stockholm Philosophy Colloquium: Antti Kauppinen (Helsinki)


Date: Thursday 12 May 2022

Time: 16.00 – 17.45

Location: D299



Perfectionist views about well-being hold that what is in itself good for us is determined by what we are fundamentally like. Like objective list theories, they thus reject the idea that favourable subjective attitudes have the authority to determine our good, but unlike them, they also provide a unifying rationale for different welfare goods. In this paper, I outline what I think is the most promising version of perfectionism, which I call subjective nature telic perfectionism. It is telic, because it says that what is basically good for us is success in realizing the aims that built into the exercise of the capacities that define us, not just developing and exercising those capacities. It appeals to our nature as the kind of subjects we are, and not to the problematic notion of human nature. In the case of adult human beings, the capacities that define our subjective nature include at least the capacity of temporally extended rational agency, the capacity for affectively valenced experience, and the capacity to relate to other such subjects as fellow subjects. I argue (though only briefly here) that this type of view is superior to subjectivism when it comes to explaining the subject-relativity of well-being, and has a number of nice pay-offs, including explaining intuitions about ill-being as well as well-being and explaining shape-of-a-life intuitions.