This is my first attempt at a PEA Soup post…thanks for reading this far!
It is very common to see philosophers say that special relationships – friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships and so on – can be intrinsically valuable. Raz and Scheffler each use this claim in their accounts of the source of special obligations. Jeske’s new book makes a similar suggestion. Kolodny says that loving a person necessarily involves taking your relationship with her to have intrinsic value. Consequentialists like Pettit and Railton say (or at least entertain the possibility) that special relationships in themselves add value to states of affairs.
I think that relationships can only have instrumental value. I have a preliminary point, four arguments and a debunking explanation.