Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford Moral Theory) by Richard Kraut

By Richard Kraut

Are there issues we should always price simply because they're, without problems, sturdy? if that is so, such issues should be acknowledged to have "absolute goodness." they might be sturdy simpliciter or complete cease - now not stable for somebody, now not solid of a type, yet still strong (period). they may even be known as "impersonal values." the explanation why we should price such issues, if there are any, might basically be the truth that they're, comfortably, good stuff. within the 20th century, G. E. Moore used to be the nice champion of absolute goodness, yet he isn't the single thinker who posits the lifestyles and value of this estate.

Against those pals of absolute goodness, Richard Kraut right here builds at the argument he made in What is nice and Why, demonstrating that goodness isn't a reason-giving estate - in reality, there is no such factor. it truly is, he holds, an insidious type of functional proposal, since it will be and has been used to justify what's destructive and condemn what's important. Impersonal worth attracts us clear of what's reliable for individuals. His approach for opposing absolute goodness is to look for domain names of useful reasoning during which it'd be considered wanted, and this leads him to an exam of a large choice of ethical phenomena: excitement, wisdom, attractiveness, love, cruelty, suicide, destiny generations, bio-diversity, killing in self-defense, and the extinction of our species. Even individuals, he proposes, shouldn't be stated to have absolute worth. The specific value of human existence rests as a substitute at the nice merits that such lives usually provide.

"When one reads this, one sees the opportunity of genuine philosophical development. If Kraut is true, I'd be unsuitable to claim that this publication is nice, interval. or perhaps nice, interval. yet i'm going to say that, as a piece of philosophy, and if you happen to learn it, it's very good indeed." --Russ Shafer-Landau, collage of Wisconsin-Madison

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Extra info for Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford Moral Theory)

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Therefore, it is not conceptually impossible for something to be good for someone but not absolutely good. Smoking, for example, might be bad for someone, without being bad (period). Similarly, if absolute goodness is a property that some things have, then it is conceptually possible for something to be good absolutely without being good for anyone. Justice, for example, might be good, without being good for anyone. Two independent inquiries, then, must be undertaken to determine whether something is good (period) and to determine whether it is good for someone.

40 THE PROBLEM OF INTELLIGIBILIT Y good or bad for those who feel them. Speaking in these terms has a distinct advantage: it is intelligible. Geach implies that it is only philosophers who have ever lapsed into talking unintelligibly by using the words “good” and “bad” absolutely. But that is not part of the argument just rehearsed for taking those uses to be unintelligible. Even if ordinary people untainted by philosophical speculation frequently told each other that pleasure is good and pain bad, that would not tell us how to interpret someone who says (in the circumstances just described) that George is absolutely good and smoking absolutely bad.

It does not matter how frequently or infrequently “good” is used in the way it is used by those philosophers who say of pleasure or other things that they are good (period). The proper philosophical question is whether we can make sense of that usage. 41 AG AINST ABSOLU TE G O ODNESS After I examine more thoroughly (in chapters 29 and 30) the conjecture that a linguistic error is made when something is called absolutely good, I will reject it. I believe that we should count “smoking is bad (period)” as meaningful but false.

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