Intrinsic Value

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 5FP074

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Practical Philosophy G2F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 10 March 2020
Responsible department
Department of Philosophy

Entry requirements

60 credits in Practical philosophy or 60 credits in Theoretical philosophy

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the students are expected to:

  • Be able to describe the most important arguments for and against the existence of intrinsic value
  • Have an overview of the debate on the logical and structural properties of intrinsic value and related concepts
  • Be able to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the main arguments in this debate
  • Have an overview of the debate on the existence and properties of organic unities


Something has intrinsic value if it is valuable "in itself", or "for its own sake". This course focuses on the logical and structural properties of intrinsic value. How is the property of being intrinsically good related to the relation "better than"? Can intrinsic goodness and badness be defined in terms of betterness? Can intrinsic value be aggregated and measured in roughly the same way as, for example, length or mass? How is the value of a whole related to the values of its parts? These are some of the questions to be discussed in the course.


Instruction will take the form of lectures.


An essay of 4-5000 words. A student's active participation and good performance in class may be a positive factor in the overall assessment of the student's work for the course.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.