The Basic Structure

Thomas Hurka

in Perfectionism

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780195101164
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833276 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

The Basic Structure

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Given some perfectionist values, whether derived from human nature or not, what is the structure of a moral view centered on them? This chapter argues that the most plausible perfectionism is consequentialist, identifying right actions by the quantity of good they result in; tells us to maximize the good rather than satisfice; and is time‐ and agent‐neutral, so we should care equally about perfections at all times and in all lives. That we should pursue others’ perfections as much as our own goes against a common view of narrow perfectionism as egoistic, but is necessary if the view does not make each person's perfection involve acting virtuously toward others. It can also be obscured if people can promote others’ perfection less well than their own and if their perfections often cooperate, so one's achieving them encourages rather than retards others’ doing so.

Keywords: consequentialism; cooperation; egoism; perfectionism; virtue

Chapter.  7558 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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