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Nearly all moral theories assign some value to well-being. But while some theories hold that well-being is the only source of value (“welfarist theories”), other theories recognize other sources of value.

How value is defined tends to depend on the preferred moral theory. Deontologists tend to focus on principles which should guide actions, such as “treat others as you would want to be treated”, while virtue ethicists concentrate on specific virtues like wisdom or benevolence. Non-welfarist consequentialists are more likely to focus on non-welfare goods like knowledge, beauty, and diversity.

Theories which recognize multiple sources of value also need some mechanism for dealing with cases where the different values conflict.

Further reading

Mason, Elinor. 2011. Value pluralism. In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.