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Apeiron Society for the Practice of Philosophy

Tuesday November 25th, 2014 at 7:30 pm
in the Valhalla Room of the Scandinavian Centre,
739 – 20th Ave N.W. Calgary.
Topic:        “Happiness and Value Pluralism: What Money can’t Buy”
Speaker: David Boutland – (Department of Philosophy, University of Calgary)

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The Talk:

Generally speaking, value pluralism is the view that there is a plurality of values or value systems that reasonable people can and do hold as essential ingredients to a flourishing life. Further, no one value or value system should be seen as more important than all the rest. Among the plurality of values, happiness plays a unique role in that happiness is not only one value among many, but happiness is intimately linked to almost any notion of human flourishing, so much so that a defense of the legitimacy of value pluralism often relies, in part, on its connection to happiness. Unsurprisingly then, those who oppose value pluralism, most notably value monists, often point to happiness as the one 'supervalue,' to which all other values can be reduced. In the first half of the talk, I will explore the unique role happiness plays within the theory of value pluralism, and whether happiness really can be considered just one among many values. Monetary value is another kind of value, but one that is importantly different from happiness. Money can be said to have instrumental value, but it lacks the intrinsic value necessary to be recognized by value pluralists. In the second half of the talk, I will consider some of the examples offered to demonstrate the limits of money with regard to creating and helping sustain happiness specifically, and value pluralism generally..

Biographical Notes:

David Boutland is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Calgary. David received his Masters in Philosophy from Dalhousie University, and Undergraduate degrees from the University of Lethbridge in Philosophy and Psychology. David's primary philosophical interests include ethics and political philosophy, and his current research investigates the possible tensions that arise between value pluralism and a liberal political framework. David is currently teaching at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.