•  1
    Perfectionism, broadly speaking, is the view that the development of certain characteristically human capacities is good. The view gains motivation in part from the intuitive pull of an objective approach to wellbeing, but dissatisfaction with objective list theory. According to objective list theory, goods such as knowledge, achievement, and friendship constitute good in a life. The objective list has terrific intuitive appeal – after all, it’s a list generated by reflecting on the good life.…Read more
  •  29
    Perfectionist Bads
    Philosophical Quarterly 71 (3): 586-604. 2021.
    Pain, failure and false beliefs all make a life worse, or so it is plausible to think. These things and possibly others seem to be intrinsically bad—no matter what further good comes of them they make a life worse pro tanto. In spite of the obvious badness, this is difficult to explain. While there are many accounts of well-being, few are up to the challenge of a univocal explanation of ill-being. Perfectionism has particular difficulty. Otherwise, it is a theory that has quite a lot in its favo…Read more
  •  29
    Games: Agency as Art, by Thi NguyenC.. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. Pp. 256.
  •  64
    The badness of pain
    Utilitas 32 (2): 236-252. 2020.
    Why is pain bad? The most straightforward theory of pain's badness,dolorism, appeals to the phenomenal quality of displeasure. In spite of its explanatory appeal, the view is too straightforward to capture two central puzzles, namely pain that is enjoyed and pain that is not painful. These cases can be captured byconditionalism, which makes the badness of displeasure conditional on an agent's attitude. But conditionalism fails where dolorism succeeds with explanatory appeal. A new approach is pr…Read more
  •  571
    The Value of Achievements
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2): 204-224. 2013.
    This article gives an account of what makes achievements valuable. Although the natural thought is that achievements are valuable because of the product, such as a cure for cancer or a work of art, I argue that the value of the product of an achievement is not sufficient to account for its overall value. Rather, I argue that achievements are valuable in virtue of their difficulty. I propose a new perfectionist theory of value that acknowledges the will as a characteristic human capacity, and thu…Read more
  •  73
    Achievement
    Oxford University Press. 2015.
    Gwen Bradford presents the first systematic account of what achievements are, and why they are worth the effort. She argues that more things count as achievements than we might have thought, and offers a new perfectionist theory of value in which difficulty, perhaps surprisingly, plays a central part in characterizing achievements.
  •  210
    Knowledge, Achievement, and Manifestation
    Erkenntnis 80 (1): 97-116. 2015.
    Virtue Epistemology appealingly characterizes knowledge as a kind of achievement, attributable to the exercise of cognitive virtues. But a more thorough understanding of the nature and value of achievements more broadly casts doubt on the view. In particular, it is argued that virtue epistemology’s answer to the Meno question is not as impressive as it purports to be, and that the favored analysis of ability is both problematic and irrelevant. However, considerations about achievements illuminat…Read more
  •  144
    Achievement, wellbeing, and value
    Philosophy Compass 11 (12): 795-803. 2016.
    Achievement is among the central goods in life, but just what is achievement, and how is it valuable? There is reason to think that it is a constitutive part of wellbeing; yet, it is possible to sacrifice wellbeing for the sake of achievement. How might it have been worthwhile, if not in terms of wellbeing? Perhaps, achievement is an intrinsic good, or perhaps it is valuable in terms of meaning in life. This article considers various ways in which we can understand the nature and value of achiev…Read more
  •  177
    Problems for Perfectionism
    Utilitas 29 (3): 344-364. 2017.
    Perfectionism, the view that well-being is a matter of developing characteristically human capacities, has relatively few defenders in the literature, but plenty of critics. This paper defends perfectionism against some recent formulations of classic objections, namely, the objection that perfectionism ignores the relevance of pleasure or preference for well-being, and a sophisticated version of the ‘wrong properties’ objection, according to which the intuitive plausibility of the perfectionist …Read more
  •  140
    Evil achievements
    The Philosophers' Magazine 59 (59): 51-56. 2012.
    Is there value in pulling off a great art heist with style and panache? This article written for a general audience explores the value of evil achievements.