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Metaethics after Moore$
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Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.001.0001

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Personal Good

Personal Good

Chapter:
(p.107) 5 Personal Good *
Source:
Metaethics after Moore
Author(s):

Connie S. Rosati

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.003.0006

This chapter challenges one aspect of Moore's view. In his critical remarks about egoism as a theory of motivation, Moore argued that the notion of ‘good-for’, which figures in claims about this or that activity or pursuit being (non-morally, intrinsically) good for an individual, is incoherent. The chapter argues that Moore is mistaken and defends an account of the good-for relation modeled on the interpersonal relation of successful loving. Success in an interpersonal loving relationship is characterized by the same general sorts of features as the relation involved in something's being good for an individual; part of her personal good. The property good-for is a second-order relational property that is realized in a person's life when she stands in the right sort of relation to some pursuit or activity. The chapter defends this view in two ways. First, it appeals to certain dualities of human nature and experience. On the one hand, we are biological creatures who can discover what is good for us, as when one discovers that she has a natural talent for music and proceeds to develop her musical talent, so that playing music becomes part of her personal good. But on the other hand, we are autonomous agents for whom our personal good is partly a matter of our own making; something invented rather than simply discovered. In order for playing music to be part of her personal good, the would-be musician must cultivate her talent. In this way she makes playing music part of her personal good. The account of personal good nicely accommodates such dualities in that the various relations involved in something's being good for oneself depend partly on facts about oneself that are beyond one's control, but also partly on what one does. The second way the chapter defends its view is by responding to certain possible Moorean objections.

Keywords:   G. E. Moore, egoism, good-for, dual nature, intrinsic good

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