Volume 49, 2008
Philosophy of Values
Effort Expended, Effort Required, and the Theory of the Good
One of the factors that contributes to an agent’s praiseworthiness and blameworthiness - his or her moral worth – is effort. On the one hand, agents who act effortlessly seem to have high moral worth. On the other hand, agents who act effortfully seem to have high moral worth as well. I explain this pair of intuitions and explore the contour of our views about cases in between them. This paper uses conceptual graphs for clarity and, in additional work I have done on value theory, as arguments. Conceptual graphs reflect a way of doing philosophy that is new and powerful, as reflected in work over the past several decades by Derek Parfit, Shelly Kagan, Larry Temkin, and Thomas Hurka.