…You are supposed to help people by satisfying their (already fixed and existent) preferences. Not by modifying those preferences to meet reality. Or God forbid, invent those preference ex nihilo.
Could this intuition be correct?
Suppose someone else invents a preference somehow. Lets say they enjoy an evening with a loved one in the presence of the scent of roses, and thus begin a lifelong fondness for that smell. Can you help the person by satisfying this new preference?
If not, you could never help anyone. All preferences are created somehow. So let’s take the usual view that you can help by satisfying preferences others have invented.
What about the person who created the preference? Did he do right or wrong in creating it?
If he did neither right nor wrong, then I could also do neither right or wrong by creating a preference. Then could I do good by fulfilling it? I can’t see why it should matter whether these two acts are done by different people or the same one. If I can do good this way, then why can’t I do good by doing both of these things at once, creating a preference in a situation which also causes it to be fulfilled? If I can do good that way, then the above intuition is wrong.
It could be incorrect to fulfil preferences ‘by’ creating them if creating them is a bad enough act to make up for the good got by fulfilling them. Which would entail that the world would be a better place had many satisfied and happy people not been born, and that having babies is generally a very bad thing to do. I think these things are far more unintuitive than the above intuition being wrong. What do you think?