Who needs ‘just plain’ goodness: a reply to Almotahari and Hosein
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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.
KeywordsGoodness Consequentialism Meta-ethics Judith Jarvis Thomson ‘Good’ Attributive adjectives
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.
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