The Origin of the Good and Our Animal Nature
MetadataShow full item record
CitationKorsgaard, Christine. 2020. "The Origin of the Good and Our Animal Nature." The Journal of Ethical Reflections 1 (2): 7-28.
AbstractWe use the term “good” in two contexts: as the most general term of evaluation, and to refer to the final ends of life and action. I start from the question what evaluative and final goodness have to do with each other. Do we use the same term because when we talk about final goods, we are evaluating ends and lives? If so, how do we go about doing that? Most things are evaluated with respect to their fitness to perform their function, but ends and lives do not have functions.
I contrast three theories of the final good: the intrinsic value theory, the hedonist theory, and Aristotle’s account, which identifies a being’s final good with its well-functioning, a form of evaluative goodness. Aristotle’s theory suggests an illuminating relationship between evaluative and final goodness: a conscious being has a final good when she functions by having conscious states that track, and so enable her to pursue, her functional or evaluative goodness. It is therefore the nature of an animal to have a final good, and there are such things as final goods because there are animals. This theory explains the existence of final goods without any metaphysical appeal to intrinsic values.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366069
- FAS Scholarly Articles