Does strict materialism imply there is no such thing as intrinsic value? If we say something has intrinsic value, I take it we mean that it is 'good' in itself, for its own sake. I'm not using 'good' to mean 'morally good' - but just "good from at least someone's point of view" in the sense that the experience of of eating an ice cream seems good to me. I think conscious experiences, in general, have intrinsic value - at least in this personal-point-of-view way. I also think this aspect of my experience is crucial to rational decision-making; without it, I'd have no clear basis for deciding between, say, eating an ice cream and setting myself on fire. I also think that if we go a bit further and say that that experiences have intrinsic value, period (i.e., objectively, from everyone's point of view), then we might have the basis of a theory of morality. Now, I gather that some philosophers might object to such a theory, on the grounds that ideas like "ought", "should" or "morally bad" cannot be construed as natural, physical properties; so given the widely accepted truth of materialism, they have no real meaning at all. However, it seems to me that if this argument is correct, it applies to subjective intrinsic value too. I know how it feels to be aware of the intrinsic value of my own experience - but I can give no definition or explanation of this impression, in terms of purely physical properties, nor can I derive such a description from what I know of the physical world (which is rather a lot). Hence, if I assume that materialism is true, I cannot rationally justify my choice of ice-cream over being on fire. I think this argument gives reasonable grounds for doubting materialism -- but I'd very much like to know what professional philosophers make of it! In the meantime, I think I'll go out for an ice cream.

I don't see how materialism as such bears on the existence of intrinsic value. The issue of whether anything has intrinsic value, and if so which things have it, seems independent of whether the world contains any immaterial substances (such as immaterial minds or souls). I think of values as abstract objects (non-physical non-substances), so if there are no abstract objects then there are no values, but there can be abstract objects without immaterial substances.

You're right that we haven't yet found a satisfying explanation of conscious experience in wholly materialistic terms, but even if we never find such an explanation, our failure to explain something wouldn't imply the logical or ontological claim that materialism is incompatible with intrinsic value.

You suggest that "conscious experiences, in general, have intrinsic value," at least from the first-person perspective. I'm not sure what the qualifier "in general" is doing in that clause, since the intrinsic value of something doesn't depend on all else being equal: whatever has intrinsic value has it regardless of how things are in the rest of the world, although its intrinsic value might be swamped by extrinsic disvalue. Maybe knowledge, as such, has intrinsic value, but someone can put his knowledge to horrific use, in which case it would be better overall if he lacked that knowledge.

I'd also question the idea that experience as such is a good candidate for something having intrinsic value: it seems to me that the value of an experience depends entirely on the quality of the experience and what it produces. There's net disvalue in experiencing only pain for the last hour of one's life, followed by permanent oblivion, even though it's experience. Are you perhaps saying, instead, that pleasurable experience has intrinsic value and painful experience has intrinsic disvalue, as classical utilitarians say? If so, then the intrinsic value doesn't attach to experience as such but to its character. Some utilitarians say that we can found morality on this basis. More on that at this link.

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