UPDATE!! SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT A SUBSTANTIVE PROPERTY OF FINAL VALUE IS A PHILOSOPHER'S FANTASY (AND THAT EVEN PHILOSOPHERS DON'T TRULY BELIEVE IT).
(Sorry for the sensationalism, but suddenly one needs to compete for an audience around here! And I think I "buried the lead" in my original post.)…
I thought I’d take this opportunity to present one of the crazier ideas I’ve been working on. In the spirit of Philippa Foot’s “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives” (1972) and like-minded philosophers, I’ve argued (e.g. in my forthcoming book, Confusion of Tongues) that thin normative words like ‘good’ and ‘ought’ are essentially relativized to ends or goals (what I call an “end-relational” theory). So any logically complete sentence of the form ‘p is good’ is implicitly relativized to some relevant end: ‘p is good [for e]’, which I’ve interpreted as meaning roughly that p promotes/ raises the probability of e, or: e is more likely given p than given not-p.
This view encounters an obvious objection from final value: judgments about what is good “for its own sake”. What should an end-relational theory say about ‘good for its own sake’?