About this topic
Summary A somewhat miscellaneous category overlapping with some other categories. It  includes works dealing with the meta-ethics of value, the definition of various forms of the good, and substantive axiologies indicating what the good consists in (e.g. hedonism, eudaimonism, perfectionism, etc.).
Key works Being an inclusive category and not a specific theme in itself, please refer to key works in related categories.
Introductions Schroeder 2008 can be regarded as covering some of the ground within this category. Hurka 2010 is an accessible discussion of "the good" in the sense of "what is good, what things have value". Please also refer to Introductory articles in related categories.
Related categories

50 found
  1. Value in Ethics and Economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
    Women as commercial baby factories, nature as an economic resource, life as one big shopping mall: This is what we get when we use the market as a common ...
  2. The Exploration of Moral Life.Carla Bagnoli - 2011 - In Justin Broakes (ed.), Iris Murdoch, philosopher. Oxford University Press.
    The most distinctive feature of Murdoch's philosophical project is her attempt to reclaim the exploration of moral life as a legitimate topic of philosophical investigation. In contrast to the predominant focus on action and decision, she argues that “what we require is a renewed sense of the difficulty and complexity of the moral life and the opacity of persons. We need more concepts in terms of which to picture the substance of our being” (AD 293).1 I shall argue that to (...)
  3. Goodness, Values, Reasons.Johan Brännmark - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):329-343.
    Contemporary value theory has been characterized by a renewed interest in the analysis of concepts like "good" or "valuable", the most prominent pattern of analysis in recent years being the socalled buck-passing or fitting-attitude analysis which reduces goodness to a matter of having properties that provide reasons for pro-attitudes. Here I argue that such analyses are best understood as metaphysical rather than linguistic and that while the buck-passing analysis has some virtues, it still fails to provide a suitably wide-ranging pattern (...)
  4. The Ethics of Detachment in Santayana's Philosophy.Michael Brodrick - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Knowing that we are finite, how can we live to the fullest? Spanish/American philosopher George Santayana described a special kind of transcendence or "spirituality" that enables us to fully enjoy the present moment, regardless of our limited existence. This book clarifies and extends Santayana's account of spirituality, while suggesting how the detachment of spirituality can relieve human suffering, enrich our lives, and make us better human beings.
  5. The Importance of God as an Idea.Michael Brodrick - 2012 - Overheard in Seville 30 (30):14-18.
  6. Spirituality and Moral Struggle.Michael Brodrick - 2011 - Bulletin of the Santayana Society 29 (29):20-27.
  7. Blessings of a Spiritual Life.Michael Brodrick - 2009 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 45 (4):pp. 543-550.
  8. Justifying a Conception of the Good Life.D. Brudney - 2001 - Political Theory 29 (3):364-394.
  9. Putting Together Morality and Well-Being.Ruth Chang - 2004 - In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 118--158.
    Conflicts between morality and prudence are often thought to pose a special problem because the normativity of moral considerations derives from a distinctively moral point of view, while the normativity of prudential considerations derives from a distinctively prudential point of view, and there is no way to ‘put together’ the two points of view. I argue that talk of points of view is a red herring, and that for any ‘prumoral’ conflict there is some or other more comprehensive value – (...)
  10. Reasons and the Good.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Clarendon Press.
    In Reasons and the Good Roger Crisp answers some of the oldest questions in moral philosophy. Fundamental to ethics, he claims, is the idea of ultimate reasons for action; and he argues controversially that these reasons do not depend on moral concepts. He investigates the nature of reasons themselves, and how we come to know them. He defends a hedonistic theory of well-being and an account of practical reason according to which we can give some, though not overriding, priority to (...)
  11. Surprising Theses in Classical Utilitarianism. Henry Sidgwick's Neglected Completion of Classical British Moral Philosophy.Annette Dufner - 2012 - Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie / Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy / Archives de Philosophie du Droit Et de Philosophie Sociale / Archivo de Filosofía Jurídica y Social 98 (4):510-534.
    This paper argues that Henry Sidgwick’s account of the relationship between the right and the good, as well as his theory of the good are still undervalued in many respects. An applied section illustrates the practical significance of this finding. In cases in which shooting down a passenger plane can save a greater number of people on the ground, and no other relevant considerations apply, the passengers should desire their own destruction—not only to promote the general good, but also in (...)
  12. The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life. [REVIEW]E. Sonny Elizondo - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (262):181-183.
    A Review of Paul Bloomfield's book _The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life_ (OUP 2014).
  13. The Locative Analysis of Good For Formulated and Defended.Guy Fletcher - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (JESP) 6 (1).
    THE STRUCTURE OF THIS PAPER IS AS FOLLOWS. I begin §1 by dealing with preliminary issues such as the different relations expressed by the “good for” locution. I then (§2) outline the Locative Analysis of good for and explain its main elements before moving on to (§3) outlining and discussing the positive features of the view. In the subsequent sections I show how the Locative Analysis can respond to objections from, or inspired by, Sumner (§4-5), Regan (§6), and Schroeder and (...)
  14. The Consistency of Qualitative Hedonism and the Value of (at Least Some) Malicious Pleasures.Guy Fletcher - 2008 - Utilitas 20 (4):462-471.
    In this article, I examine two of the standard objections to forms of value hedonism. The first is the common claim, most famously made by Bradley and Moore, that Mill's qualitative hedonism is inconsistent. The second is the apparent problem for quantitative hedonism in dealing with malicious pleasures. I argue that qualitative hedonism is consistent, even if it is implausible on other grounds. I then go on to show how our intuitions about malicious pleasure might be misleading.
  15. Living Under the Guidance of Reason: Arne Naess's Interpretation of Spinoza.Espen Gamlund - 2011 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):2-17.
    There is no doubt that Spinoza values what he calls living under the guidance of reason, and that he somehow equates such a life with happiness. What is less clear is exactly how he conceives of such a life, and thus how he conceives of human happiness. According to Arne Naess's interpretation of Spinoza, the virtuous and free person will prefer the life of action, and happiness is best realised through living an active life “in the world”. Other scholars, however, (...)
  16. Perfectionism in Practice: Shusterman’s Place in Recent Pragmatism.Mathias Girel - 2015 - Contemporary Pragmatism 12 (1):156-179.
    Building on recent texts, I give a characterization of Richard Shusterman’s specific variant of pragmatism, understood as a melioristic or perfectionist pragmatism, where ethical and political dimensions are deeply intertwined with the epistemological one. To do so, I focus on what seems to be Shusterman’s latest contribution to his inter- rupted dialogue with Richard Rorty in Thinking through the Body.
  17. Roger Crisp, Reasons and the Good (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006). [REVIEW]Lorenzo Greco - 2008 - Rivista di Filosofia 99 (2):329-30.
  18. Wish, Motivation and the Human Good in Aristotle.Gösta Grönroos - 2015 - Phronesis 60 (1):60-87.
    _ Source: _Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 60 - 87 Aristotle invokes a specifically human desire, namely wish, to provide a teleological explanation of the pursuit of the specifically human good in terms of virtuous activity. Wish is a basic, unreasoned desire which, independently of other desires, or evaluative attitudes, motivates the pursuit of the human good. Even a person who pursues what she mistakenly believes to be good is motivated by wish for what in fact is good, although she (...)
  19. Still Not ‘Good’ in Terms of ‘Better’.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):854-864.
    Erik Carlson puts forward a new way of defining monadic value predicates, such as ‘good’, in terms of dyadic value relations, such as ‘better’. Earlier definitions of this kind have the unwanted feature that they rule out some reasonable axiologies by conceptual fiat. Carlson claims that his definitions do not have this drawback. In this paper, I argue that they do.
  20. Neither 'Good' in Terms of 'Better' nor 'Better' in Terms of 'Good'.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2013 - Noûs 48 (1):466–473.
    In this paper, I argue against defining either of ‘good’ and ‘better’ in terms of the other. According to definitions of ‘good’ in terms of ‘better’, something is good if and only if it is better than some indifference point. Against this approach, I argue that the indifference point cannot be defined in terms of ‘better’ without ruling out some reasonable axiologies. Against defining ‘better’ in terms of ‘good’, I argue that this approach either cannot allow for the incorruptibility of (...)
  21. The Book of Ruth: Solidarity, Kindness, and Peace.Frederick W. Guyette - 2013 - Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics 3 (1):Article 3.
    I propose a reading of The Book of Ruth that takes seriously the pastoral concern for refugees, migrants, and their families that was embodied in the life and teaching of Pope John Paul II.The Book of Ruth models virtues and practices that can help build up a society in solidarity, kindness, and peace. Ruth’s decision to stand beside Naomi demonstrates the value of solidarity in creating a hopeful future for families and communities. Naomi’s role in bringing Ruth and Boaz together (...)
  22. Better Not to Have Children.Gerald K. Harrison & Julia Tanner - 2011 - Think, 10(27), 113-121 (27):113-121.
    Most people take it for granted that it's morally permissible to have children. They may raise questions about the number of children it's responsible to have or whether it's permissible to reproduce when there's a strong risk of serious disability. But in general, having children is considered a good thing to do, something that's morally permissible in most cases (perhaps even obligatory).
  23. Values: A Reply to Staddon's "Faith and Goodness".Max Hocutt - 2009 - Behavior and Philosophy 37:187 - 194.
    In his spirited "Faith and Goodness" (this issue), John Staddon says that my defense of B. F. Skinner's definition of the good—as what has the potential to reinforce desire for it—overlooks the fact that people sometimes desire the wrong things. Staddon appears to agree with G. E. Moore that the good should, rather, be equated with what is worthy of being desired, so ought to be desired, whether it ever is desired or not. But since there is no objective test (...)
  24. Review of Meaning In Life: An Analytic Study by Thaddeus Metz. [REVIEW]Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2).
  25. What Do the Virtuous Hope For?: Re-Reading Kant's Doctrine of the Highest Good.Pauline Kleingeld - 1995 - In Hoke Robinson (ed.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress, Memphis 1995. Marquette University Press.
  26. How to Accept the Transitivity of Better Than.Justin Klocksiem - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1309-1334.
    Although the thesis that the moral better than relation is transitive seems obviously true, there is a growing literature according to which Parfit’s repugnant conclusion and related puzzles reveal that this thesis is false or problematic. This paper begins by presenting several such puzzles and explaining how they can be used in arguments for the intransitivity of better than. It then proposes and defends a plausible alternative picture of the behavior of better than that both resolves the repugnant conclusion and (...)
  27. Two Distinctions in Goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.
  28. Richard Kraut, What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being[REVIEW]Michelle Mason - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
  29. A Moorean View of the Value of Lives.Kris Mcdaniel - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):23-46.
    Can we understand being valuable for in terms of being valuable? Three different kinds of puzzle cases suggest that the answer is negative. In what follows, I articulate a positive answer to this question, carefully present the three puzzle cases, and then explain how a friend of the positive answer can successfully respond to them. This response requires us to distinguish different kinds of value bearers, rather than different kinds of value, and to hold that among the value bearers are (...)
  30. The Good, the Right, Life And Death: Essays in Honor of Fred Feldman.Kris McDaniel, Jason R. Raibley, Richard Feldman & Michael J. Zimmerman (eds.) - 2005 - Ashgate.
  31. Achievement, Welfare and Consequentialism.David Mcnaughton & Piers Rawling - 2001 - Analysis 61 (2):156–162.
    significant role for accomplishment thereby admits a ‘Trojan Horse’ (267).1 To abandon hedonism in favour of a conception of well-being that incorporates achievement is to take the first step down a slippery slope toward the collapse of the other two pillars of utilitarian morality: welfarism and consequentialism. We shall argue that Crisp’s arguments do not support these conclusions. We begin with welfarism. Crisp defines it thus: ‘Well-being is the only value. Everything good must be good for some being or beings’ (...)
  32. The Naturalistic Fallacy and Theological Ethics.Christian Miller - forthcoming - In Neil Sinclair (ed.), The Naturalistic Fallacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    What views are the primary target of Moore’s fallacy and his open question argument? A common answer, I suspect, would be naturalistic approaches to morality. It is the naturalistic fallacy, after all. But in fact both his fallacy and his argument apply just as straightforwardly to supernatural approaches to morality as well. In this chapter, I focus specifically on how philosophers of religion have tried to grounds morality in God in ways that are clearly relevant to Moore’s project.
  33. Could an Egoist Be a Friend?Joe Mintoff - 2006 - American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2):101 - 118.
    Being a friend makes our lives better, but it seems this consideration cannot guide our pursuit of friendship, lest this mean we are not true friends and that our lives are not made better. The aim of this paper is to show how, appearances notwithstanding, being a true friend is consistent with having one's own happiness as one's ultimate end. Aristotle's idea that friends are other selves, and recent accounts of practical reason, show how (i) one's acting as a friend (...)
  34. Local Communities and Globalization in Caritas in Veritate.Jeffery Nicholas - 2011 - Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics 1 (1):Article 5.
    Caritas in Veritate leaves us with a question, Does Benedict XVI see politics as a practice or as an institution? How one answers this question has tremendous implications for how one should address the inequalities of contemporary society and the increasing globalization of the world. Alasdair MacIntyre, for instance, would consider politics to be primarily a practice with a good internal to its activities. This good consists in rational deliberation with others about the common good. If one considers politics an (...)
  35. The Common Good, Rights, and Catholic Social Thought: Prolegomena to Any Future Account of Common Goods.Jeffery L. Nicholas - 2015 - Solidarity: The Journal for Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics 5 (1):Article 4.
    The argument between Jacques Maritain and Charles de Koninck over the primacy of the common good is well known. Yet, even though Mary Keys has carefully arbitrated this debate, it still remains problematic for Alasdair MacIntyre, particularly because of the role rights play in both Maritain and Catholic Social Thought. I examine Keys’ argument and, in addition, Deborah Wallace’s account of MacIntyre’s criticism of rights in Catholic social thought. I argue, in the end, that what Maritain, and in consequence Keys (...)
  36. Reason-Based Value or Value-Based Reasons?Sven Nyholm - 2006 - In Björn Haglund & Helge Malmgren (eds.), Kvantifikator För En Dag. Essays Dedicated to Dag Westerståhl on His Sixtieth Birthday. Philosophical Communications. pp. 193-202.
    In this paper, I discuss practical reasons and value, assuming a coexistence thesis according to which reasons and value always go together. I start by doing some taxonomy, distinguishing among three different ways of accounting for the relation between practical reasons and the good. I argue that, of these views, the most plausible one is that according to which something’s being good just consists in how certain facts about the thing in question – other than that of how it is (...)
  37. Communitarian and Liberal Theories of the Good.Paul Jeffrey & D. MillerFred - 1990 - Review of Metaphysics 43 (4):803-830.
  38. Consequentialism, Goodness, and States of Affairs.Fergus Peace - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (1):51-68.
    Consequentialists claim that their theory is simply that the right action is whichever one will lead to the best state of affairs - and that this formulation provides a powerful intuitive ground for accepting consequentialism. Recent arguments in value theory threaten to show that this formulation lacks either coherent meaning, because states of affairs cannot be good simpliciter, or philosophical power, because their goodness provides no reason to bring them about. I respond to two such arguments - from Judith Jarvis (...)
  39. What Is Goodness Good For?Christian Piller - 2015 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Vol 4. pp. 179-209.
  40. Torture and Incoherence: A Reply to Cyr.Duncan Purves - 2015 - Journal of Ethics 19 (2):213-218.
    John Martin Fischer and Anthony L. Brueckner have argued that a person’s death is, in many cases, bad for him, whereas a person’s prenatal non-existence is not bad for him. Their suggestion relies on the idea that death deprives the person of pleasant experiences that it is rational for him to care about, whereas prenatal non-existence only deprives him of pleasant experiences that it is not rational for him to care about. Jens Johansson has objected to this justification of ‘The (...)
  41. Maximization Theory and Plato's Concept of the Good.Howard Rachlin - 1985 - Behaviorism 13 (1):3-20.
    Plato's dialogues may be interpreted in a number of ways. One interpretation sees Plato's concept of The Good as a precursor of maximization theory, a modern behavioral theory. Plato identifies goodness with an ideal pattern of people's overt choices under the constraints of everyday life. Correspondingly, maximization theory sees goodness (in terms of "value") as a quantifiable function of overt, constrained choices of an animal. In both conceptions goodness may be increased by expanding the temporal extent over which a behavioral (...)
  42. The Practice of Value.Joseph Raz (ed.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    The Practice of Value explores the nature of value and its relation to the social and historical conditions under which human agents live. At the core of the book are the Tanner Lectures delivered at Berkeley in 2001 by Joseph Raz, who has been one of the leading figures in moral and legal philosophy since the 1970's. Raz argues that values depend importantly on social practices, but that we can make sense of this dependence without falling back on cultural relativism. (...)
  43. In Defence of Good Simpliciter.Richard Rowland - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1371-1391.
    Many including Judith Jarvis Thomson, Philippa Foot, Peter Geach, Richard Kraut, and Paul Ziff have argued for good simpliciter skepticism. According to good simpliciter skepticism, we should hold that there is no concept of being good simpliciter or that there is no property of being good simpliciter. I first show that prima facie we should not accept either form of good simpliciter skepticism. I then show that all of the arguments that good simpliciter skeptics have proposed for their view fail (...)
  44. Upton on Evil Pleasures.Geoffrey Scarre - 2001 - Utilitas 13 (1):106-111.
    In a recent contribution to Utilitas Hugh Upton has criticized my defence of utilitarianism against the charge that it is committed to regarding the pleasures taken by sadists in other people's pain as increasing the amount of good in the world and so at least partially offsetting the suffering of the victims. In the present paper I clarify and defend my view that sadists implicitly insult their own human qualities, thus rendering it impossible to respect themselves as human beings, when (...)
  45. Versuch über die Form des Glücks: Studien zur Ethik.Martin Seel - 1999 - Suhrkamp.
    Die vier Studien dieses Bandes behandeln alle das Problem, wie sich ein gutes Leben zu einem moralisch guten Leben verhält. Jede untersucht dieses Verhältnis von einer anderen Seite her; jede führt auf ihre Weise zu dem Schluß, daß der Zusammenhang zwischen dem Guten und dem moralisch Guten weder als letztendliche Identität noch als begriffliche Priorität einer der beiden Komponenten verstanden werden darf. Zusammen bilden sie den Entwurf einer praktischen Philosophie, die die Begriffe des individuellen Guten und des moralisch Richtigen als (...)
  46. Hierarchical Consequentialism.Re'em Segev - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (3):309-330.
    The paper considers a hierarchical theory that combines concern for two values: individual well-being – as a fundamental, first-order value – and (distributive) fairness – as a high-order value that its exclusive function is to complete the value of individual well-being by resolving internal clashes within it that occur in interpersonal conflicts. The argument for this unique conception of high-order fairness is that fairness is morally significant in itself only regarding what matters – individual well-being – and when it matters (...)
  47. Personal Goodness and Moral Facts.Stefan Sencerz - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:481-498.
    Peter Railton argues that normative realism is justified because the non-moral goodness of an individual has explanatory uses. After having equated moral rightness with a kind of impersonal social rationality, he argues that rightness, so defined, helps to explain various social phenomena. If he is right, then moral realism would be justified, too. Railton’s argument fails, however, on both counts. Several crucial steps in his reasoning are unsupported and are likely to be false. The explanations he proposes may be dismissed (...)
  48. Fairness and the Strengths of Agents' Claims.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (3):347-360.
    John Broome has proposed a theory of fairness according to which fairness requires that agents’ claims to goods be satisfied in proportion to the relative strength of those claims. In the case of competing claims for a single indivisible good, Broome argues that what fairness requires is the use of a weighted lottery as a surrogate to satisfying the competing claims: the relative chance of each claimant's winning the lottery should be set to the relative strength of each claimant's claim. (...)
  49. Work and Ideals.Desh Raj Sirswal - 2012 - In Rohit Puri (ed.), Integral Management :The school of Management Theory.
    Peoples often question the relevance of spiritualism in their modern life. They want to know why they should know what they are within and why should they bother to change themselves. With rapid changes in the socio-economic aspects of life all over the world, peoples are under intense pressure, and are seeking something, which will help them to successfully deal with union with the universal and transcendent existence. Today many people are shifting to spiritual approach to life but relevant number (...)
  50. Pain's Evils.Adam Swenson - 2009 - Utilitas 21 (2):197-216.
    The traditional accounts of pain’s intrinsic badness assume a false view of what pains are. Insofar as they are normatively significant, pains are not just painful sensations. A pain is a composite of a painful sensation and a set of beliefs, desires, emotions, and other mental states. A pain’s intrinsic properties can include inter alia depression, anxiety, fear, desires, feelings of helplessness, and the pain’s meaning. This undermines the traditional accounts of pain’s intrinsic badness. Pain is intrinsically bad in two (...)