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The Right and the Good$
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David Ross and Philip Stratton-Lake

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252657

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199252653.001.0001

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The Meaning of ‘Right’

The Meaning of ‘Right’

(p.1) I The Meaning of ‘Right’
The Right and the Good

W. D. Ross

Oxford University Press

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

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