Good is a word that has many different meanings and applications. It can be used to describe something that is desirable, helpful or a moral virtue, as well as to refer to someone’s actions and character.
Generally speaking, good is the opposite of evil, and it is an important concept in ethics, morality, philosophy and religion. In particular, it is the conduct that should be preferred when posed with a choice between possible actions.
A person who is good is a kind, virtuous person who is in accordance with moral standards and rules of behavior. Some people consider that a person’s good is determined by their own actions and choices, while others believe that it is based on God’s moral laws.
The concept of good is a basic element in most normative systems and has been a major focus of many philosophers, especially in the Ancient World. For example, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle saw the good as a way to judge moral actions and achieve happiness as a social being in this life.
Another major philosopher, Plato, sees the good as an ontological principle that is essential to all things, including human beings and all creatures, but not to human beings alone. Nevertheless, Plato also stresses the good as an ideal to be reached and a goal to be achieved by human beings.
In contemporary philosophy, the good is regarded as a dynamic, evolving and creative force that is inextricably connected with action and the elan vital. The concept of good has been influenced by both the Neo-Platonic and Hegelian schools of thought, as well as by philosophers such as Bergson, Sartre, Plotinus and Kant.
Among the most important philosophical definitions of good are those formulated by Aristotle, Plato and Kant. These theories provide a foundation for the concepts of moral good and ontological good.
Aristotle viewed the good as the rationally chosen course of action that would bring a man into harmony with his fellow men and achieve his own happiness as a social being in this life. The Epicureans and Stoics, on the other hand, believed that the good was a pleasure to be enjoyed without passion.
Some modern systems of morality, such as that of hobbes and Kant, posit the good as the function of God’s positive will. According to this system, acts that fall within the scope of God’s will are good and those that do not are bad.
Other theories, such as those of Bergson and Sartre, hold that the good is a principle that exists within each individual person, or soul, and that it can be cultivated by means of moral and spiritual effort. This can be done by means of a personal morality, which must be formed in the course of one’s life and which consists of a series of ethical principles.
The good is also a concept that can be found in most religious beliefs, including those of Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish people, for example, have many biblical passages that describe the goodness of God and his benevolence toward humans. Moreover, most Christian denominations have their own set of ethical and moral values that are considered to be the “right” way to live.