This thesis is a study of prudential value, or what is good for people. The project is motivated by the following central questions: “what does it mean for a thing to be good,” and “which theory can best account for the semantic criteria of prudential value?” The narrative of the project is constituted by three general strands. The project will begin with a charitable description, followed by a critique, of three theories; hedonism, desire theory and an objective account of value. The purpose of these three chapters is to assess the plausibility of these theories as a response to our central question. The second strand of the project will occur during the forth and fifth chapters. These chapters will introduce a meta-critique of the central questions and presuppositions of our project from the perspective of the post-structuralist philosophical position. The second strand of the project will conclude with a defense of our central thesis from the post-structuralist objections. The third strand occurs during the sixth and final chapter of the project. The sixth chapter will describe the general conclusions of our study and make steps towards an alternate objective account of value which hinges on the notion of a human need. As a multidisciplinary study, several sections of the project are composed in French: the forth, fifth and half of the third chapter.


Thomson, Garrett

Second Advisor

Burch, Laura


Philosophy; French and Francophone Studies


Ethics and Political Philosophy | Philosophy of Language


The good, prudential value, hedonism, desire theory, the capabilities approach, Derrida, Post-Structuralism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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