Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness

Richard Kraut

in Against Absolute Goodness

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844463
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919550 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Moral Theory

Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness

Show Summary Details


This chapter begins with a discussion of how the term “absolute goodness” has the potential to mislead us. That questioning whether we should value anything because it is absolutely good, also means questioning whether we should devalue anything because it is absolutely bad or evil. It is argued that one reason to use the term “absolute” goodness in a study of goodness simpliciter is that “absolutely” brings to mind a contrast with “relatively,” and the philosophical tradition being challenged characterizes the goodness it posits as something that does not have its goodness only in relation to something else. The absolutely-relatively contrast can be used to characterize the difference between being good (period) and being good for someone.

Keywords: bad; evil; good; value; absolutely; goodness simpliciter

Chapter.  1707 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.