Sixth and final lecture First lecture in the Value of Humanities series in which Professor Helen Small discusses the philosophical idea of intrinsic value, or the humanities as valuable for its own sake.
Most of the other justifications treated in these lectures are consequentialist, resting on a conviction that the humanities have good effects in the world by their impact on our cultural life, our happiness, our politics. That consequentialism will be attractive to anyone tasked with demonstrating the humanities' public benefit, but it neglects what has often been thought of as the 'intrinsic value' of the objects studied. This lecture works closely with philosophy of value to describe the difficulties in the way of securing claims to intrinsic value. It explores some of the most influential of recent efforts to hang onto the term-including critical and poetic writings by Geoffrey Hill. It then develops in its place a more readily defensible claim that the areas of study we now call 'the humanities' have value 'for their own sake'.