Goodness and Variability

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

Goodness and Variability

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This chapter examines the notions of being good for someone and being absolutely good. Moore thinks that absolute goodness is a primitive notion—a concept that cannot be decomposed into ingredients that are conceptually prior to and explanatory of it. Perhaps he is wrong about that, but he is not obviously wrong. It is not evident how the goodness he posited—goodness that serves as a ground for valuing things—should be defined. The same definitional problem can be raised about the concept of being good for someone. It consists in being beneficial, advantageous, and so on—but these are just different words for the same thing, and they are not conceptually prior to and explanatory of the relation of being good for someone. Light can be shed on this relation if we think of it in terms of flourishing. It is argued that a thing's making a contribution to someone's flourishing and its being good for someone are one and the same relationship.

Keywords: absolute goodness; good; someone; flourishing

Chapter.  3749 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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