I’m happy to introduce our current Featured Philosophy, Gwen Bradford, who teaches at Rice University and has written a creative and insightful book on achievement. Her post today is on the nature and value of uniqueness. Please comment with your thoughts about the interesting new territory that Gwen is exploring!
I have been thinking about uniqueness and its relationship to value.
The issue first arises in one of the important moments in value theory. The orthodox conception of intrinsic value as value strictly in virtue of intrinsic properties was questioned by counterexamples pointing to extrinsic properties generating what’s plausibly intrinsic value. Monroe Beardsley in 1965 wrote this:
One inconvenience of this definition can be brought out as follows: A sheet of postage stamps has been misprinted – the central figure, say, is inverted. …[but] its value is not for the sake of anything else. (Beardsley 1965: 61-62).