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From Morality to MetaphysicsThe Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments$
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Angus Ritchie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199652518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652518.001.0001

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Natural Goodness

Natural Goodness

Philippa Foot’s Moral Objectivism

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 Natural Goodness
Source:
From Morality to Metaphysics
Author(s):

Angus Ritchie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652518.003.0006

This chapter evaluates Philippa Foot's moral philosophy, applying the three standards she sets for a satisfactory account — namely that it should vindicate our fundamental moral commitments; explain the epistemic access humans have to moral truths within a secular framework; and provide an adequate explanation of situations where human flourishing is not to be identified with maximising survival — for the individual or the collective. It considers in turn her account of the objective qualities and defects of living things in general; her application of this to human beings and their wills; and her account of why such facts ought to motivate agents to behave well. The chapter argues that her account only meets the first of her three standards — and that what is required is a notion of objective moral correctness which transcends the species-relative property of goodness upon which Foot has to rely.

Keywords:   aristotelianism, ethical naturalism, moral realism, foot, goodness

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