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Against Absolute Goodness$
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Richard Kraut

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199844463

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199844463.001.0001

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Goodness and Variability

Goodness and Variability

Chapter 13 Goodness and Variability
Against Absolute Goodness

Richard Kraut

Oxford University Press

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

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