Many people think that inanimate objects can only be good if they are good for someone whose existence is itself good. This might explain why the epithet “good-for-nothing” is a term of abuse. But such a view cannot make sense of our experience or of our judgments about the value of art and the value of philosophy. These are not good because they benefit us; rather, they benefit us because they are good. This can explain why writing good philosophy or creating good art can be worthwhile even if it does not increase anyone’s welfare. It also encourages us to take seriously the claims of deep ecologists who say that what is good in nature is not dependent on its interest for us.
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