The Good Place and The Good Life

In Kimberly S. Engels (ed.), The Good Place and Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 47–56 (2020-08-27)
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For most pre‐modern philosophers, questions about the good life and the happy life were inseparable. Happiness is primarily a subjective notion. The Good Place suggests that relationships are key to the good life. It is a laboratory for testing moral theories, providing the show's writers opportunities to see which theories help the protagonists become better persons. An ethics of virtue is difficult and messy because it does not reduce morality to a simple formula. Instead, it involves an inner transformation of character that leads to virtuous actions. In Aristotle's ethical system, true moral progress toward the good life is within reach. In spite of the verbal commitments made to Kant's ethics, the show ultimately proves to be a vindication of virtue ethics. A universe governed by Aristotelian morality is one in which moral development is possible.



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Christopher Scott Sevier
College of Southern Nevada

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