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Against Absolute Goodness$
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Richard Kraut

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199844463

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199844463.001.0001

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Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness

Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness

Chapter 4 Absolute Evil, Relative Goodness
Against Absolute Goodness

Richard Kraut

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of how the term “absolute goodness” has the potential to mislead us. That questioning whether we should value anything because it is absolutely good, also means questioning whether we should devalue anything because it is absolutely bad or evil. It is argued that one reason to use the term “absolute” goodness in a study of goodness simpliciter is that “absolutely” brings to mind a contrast with “relatively,” and the philosophical tradition being challenged characterizes the goodness it posits as something that does not have its goodness only in relation to something else. The absolutely-relatively contrast can be used to characterize the difference between being good (period) and being good for someone.

Keywords:   bad, evil, good, value, absolutely, goodness simpliciter

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