Volume 38, 2013
Welfare and Paradox
The basic idea of a desire theory of welfare is that how good a life is for the person who lives it is a matter of how many of that person’s desires are satisfied. The more satisfied desires the better the life. That it is possible for a person to desire that his or her life go badly is thought to pose problems for such a view. Indeed, some have recently argued that the possibility of such desires entails that a desire theory of welfare leads to paradox. In this paper, I present this purported paradox for the desire theory of welfare, offer a new solution to it, and defend it from objections that have been made to other responses.