Symbolic Value

Robert Merrihew Adams

in Finite and Infinite Goods

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153712
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869381 | DOI:
Symbolic Value

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This chapter argues that it is good to care about what one's actions and one's life symbolize, express, and stand for, and good in some cases to act for the sake of such symbolic values in preference to more extrinsic and more tangible consequences because expressive action provides a way of being for important goods, a way that is especially important in situations of relative helplessness (though not only there). This argument is related to conceptions of martyrdom, eschatology, and worship.

Keywords: consequences; eschatology; expressive action; helplessness; martyrdom; symbolic value; worship

Chapter.  8707 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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