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Abstract

According to the argument from self-sacrifice, standard, unrestricted desire-based theories of welfare fail because they have the absurd implication that self-sacrifice is conceptually impossible. I attempt to show that, in fact, the simplest imaginable, completely unrestricted desire-based theory of well-being is perfectly compatible with the phenomenon of self-sacrifice – so long as the theory takes the right form. I go on to consider a new argument from self-sacrifice against this simple theory, which, I argue, also fails. I conclude that, contrary to popular opinion, considerations of self-sacrifice do not pose a problem for preferentist theories of welfare.