Philosopher Paul Schofield (Bates College) will give a talk entitled "Do Pleasure and Pain Doom the Pefectionist Theory of Wellbeing?"
Paul Schofield’s research focuses on moral and political philosophy as well as the philosophy of film. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
The perfectionist theory of wellbeing holds that what’s ultimately good for a person is whatever renders her an excellent specimen of humanity. It’s a view that occupies a place of importance in the history of ethical thought, and one with which several modern-day virtue theorists have expressed sympathy. But it’s also a view that’s fallen on hard times, finding itself routinely dismissed by contemporary authors. Intuitions about pleasure and pain, and about how they factor into wellbeing, motivate what are undoubtedly the most persistent objections to the view. These objections purport to show that human excellence and wellbeing can come apart, and thus that human excellence can’t be the ultimate determinant of what’s good for someone. In this paper, I argue that these objections are not successful. I do so in hopes of removing a significant obstacle for those advocating for the perfectionist theory and of convincing the view’s opponents that it cannot be dispensed with so easily.
Thursday, April 19 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Hardin Hall, 232 Clemson University