Activity Over Achievement
Many philosophers hold that achievement is an objective good, or part of what makes for a good life. On this view, the fact that a person has achieved something difficult or impressive contributes significantly to the goodness of that person’s life. I explore the alternative idea that the value of achievement lies not in the achievement itself, but in the activity of pursuing the achievement. I draw on an analogy with games: to play and enjoy a game, one must take on the end of winning, but winning is not what gives a game its value. Instead, the value lies in the activity of playing the game itself. Similarly, I suggest that while many valuable activities require adopting achievement as an end, what is valuable is not the accomplishment of the end itself, but instead the activity of pursuing that end.
Brendan de Kenessey
Assistant Professor (University of Toronto – St. Georges Campus)
Department of Philosophy