Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 12, pp 2991–3004 | Cite as

Who needs ‘just plain’ goodness: a reply to Almotahari and Hosein

  • Fergus Jordan PeaceEmail author
Article

Abstract

I address an argument in value theory which threatens to render nonsensical many debates in modern ethics. Almotahari and Hosein’s (Philos Stud 172(6):1485–1508, 2015) argument against the property of goodness simpliciter is presented. I criticise the linguistic tests they use in their argument, suggesting they do not provide much support for their conclusion. I draw a weaker conclusion from their argument, and argue that defenders of goodness simpliciter have not responded adequately to this milder conclusion. I go on to argue that moral philosophers ought to abandon the property of goodness simpliciter and focus their attention on the property of being a good state of affairs. I defend this property against Almotahari and Hosein’s criticism, and give reasons to think it (rather than goodness simpliciter) is at the heart of moral theory.

Keywords

Goodness Consequentialism Meta-ethics Judith Jarvis Thomson ‘Good’ Attributive adjectives 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank two anonymous reviewers, Ben Lange, Alexander Heape and an audience at the Ockham Society for very helpful comments and suggestions.

References

  1. Almotahari, M., & Hosein, A. (2015). Is anything just plain good? Philosophical Studies, 172(6), 1485–1508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arneson, R. (2010). Good, period. Analysis, 70(4), 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Byrne, T. (2016). Might anything be plain good? Philosophical Studies, 173(12), 3335–3346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crisp, R. (2003). Equality, priority, and compassion. Ethics, 113(4), 745–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Geach, P. (1956). Good and evil. Analysis, 17(2), 33–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Peace, F. J. (2016). Consequentialism, goodness, and states of affairs. The Journal of Value Inquiry. doi: 10.1007/s10790-016-9553-x.Google Scholar
  8. Pierson, E. (2016). Detecting and predicting beautiful sunsets using social media data. Presented at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 6th International Workshop on Climate Informatics. Available at http://cs.stanford.edu/~emmap1/sunset_paper.pdf.
  9. Rowland, R. (2016). In defence of good simpliciter. Philosophical Studies, 173(5), 1371–1391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2003). For goodness’ sake. Southern Journal of Philosophy., 41(Supplement), 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Sturgeon, N. (2010). Normativity. Analysis, 70(4), 744–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Thomson, J. J. (2008). Normativity. Chicago, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Magdalen CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations