Desirism Wiki

There are two types of desires and, with them, there are two types of value.

  1. Desires as Ends (corresponding to states having value for their own sake)
  2. Desires as Means (corresponding to states having value as a way of obtaining something else that has value for its own sake)

To illustrate this concept, we can imagine an Aristotelian chain of value.

Aristotle presented the distinction between "means" (that which has value because it is useful) and "ends" (that which has value independent of its usefulness - for its own sake).

For example, a hammer can have value because it is useful for driving in nails. Driven-in nails are useful when they are a part of putting up a wall. The wall is useful because it is a part of a house. A house is useful because it keeps us warm in the winter. However, being warm in the winter is not something we value (or not something we value exclusive) because it brings about something else. It is something we value for its own sake. We simply prefer to be warm in the winter than to be cold.

Of course, the house can have both types of value; value-as-an-end and value-as-a-means. It can both be functional in the sense that it keeps the cold outside during winter, and because its architecture is aesthetically pleasing. A person can desire-as-an-end both that he have a way to keep warm in winter and that he be a home-owner. It is not the case that these two types of value; value-as-end and value-as-means are mutually exclusive.