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Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678044.001.0001

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The Relational Nature of the Good

The Relational Nature of the Good

(p.1) 1 The Relational Nature of the Good
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8

Christine M. Korsgaard

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the relation of being good-for someone is prior to the property of being good. After discussing the views of Moore, Geach, Foot, and Rawls, the author argues that there are final goods because there are conscious animals. Hedonists also believe this, but think of goodness as an intrinsic property of certain conscious states—pleasant ones. This is because they mistake pleasure for sensation and so for an object of experience. After advancing an alternative conception of pleasure as a relational state of welcoming, the author argues that animals experience the things that contribute to their well-functioning, the things that are good-for them, as welcome and so as finally good. Judgements of final goodness involve taking up the animal's own point of view and are therefore essentially sympathetic. These ideas support a constructivist account of absolute goodness: something absolutely good must be a shared good, something good-for all concerned.

Keywords:   Aristotle, constructivism, evaluative goodness, final goodness, Foot, Geach, hedonistic utilitarianism, Moore, pleasure and pain, Rawls

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