The Meaning of ‘Right’

W. D. Ross

in The Right and the Good

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252657
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598333 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

The Meaning of ‘Right’

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This first chapter of Ross's book is devoted to an inquiry into the meaning of right. The interest throughout is ethical, with value only being discussed as far as it seems relevant. The first aspect addressed is the ambiguity inherent in any definition of the meaning of right. G. E. Moore's three definitions of a horse are discussed: these may be designated the arbitrary verbal definition, the verbal definition proper, and the definition that involves the sense of being reduced to elements simpler than itself. These three types of definition are applied to the subsequent discussion of the meaning of right, which includes looking at the difference between right and duty, at moral goodness, at the reduction of right to elements simpler than itself, at right definable as productive of a certain outcome (the greatest good), at ethical principles, at hedonistic utilitarianism, and at the sociological school.

Keywords: definition of right; duty; ethics; hedonism; hedonistic utilitarianism; meaning of right; G. E. Moore; moral goodness; outcome; reduction to simple elements; right; rightness; sociological school; utilitarianism

Chapter.  6206 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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