Research Article

Headaches, Lives and Value


a1 University of Kansas ddorsey@ku.edu


Consider Lives for Headaches: there is some number of headaches such that the relief of those headaches is sufficient to outweigh the good life of an innocent person. Lives for Headaches is unintuitive, but difficult to deny. The argument leading to Lives for Headaches is valid, and appears to be constructed out of firmly entrenched premises. In this article, I advocate one way to reject Lives for Headaches; I defend a form of lexical superiority between values. Based on an inquiry into the notion of human well-being, I argue that no amount of headaches is sufficient to outweigh the disvalue of the loss of a good life. Though this view has been thought subject to devastating objections, these objections are not dispositive against the form of value superiority I advance here.