Life’s Intrinsic Values

There is no single item that makes life worth living. There are a multitude of things that enhance the value of life, and others that detract from it. The famous English philosopher G.E. Moore wrote a respected book entitled Principia Ethica, in which he distinguishes between items of intrinsic value and others of instrumental value. The former are items of value by their very nature, whereas the latter are merely of value for what they can be used to bring about. Beauty has intrinsic value for Moore, whereas a piece of currency is only valuable for what it can be used to purchase. Good health greatly enhances the worth of one’s life, whereas its lack severely diminishes life’s value. Similarly, loving relationships, productive work, comfortable circumstances and enjoyable activities are all intrinsically valuable things that contribute greatly to making life worth living, whereas their lack diminishes the quality of life.

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