The Nature of Good


There are two major competing traditions of the nature of good. The first traces its history to Aristotle, and the second reaches Ralph Barton Perry. Both emphasize the importance of virtue as a means to achieve a particular end. While Aristotle does not develop a theory of good, he does outline its various characteristics. The teleological tradition views good as the fulfillment of natural ends, while the consequentialist tradition focuses on the quantity of that end.

The distinction between good and value is not clear. Some believe that the distinction is arbitrary, while others think that it can be based on objective criteria. In the case of value, a good is something that is good in itself, rather than an object that serves another purpose. While the former view is more common, utilitarianism focuses on the importance of money as a sole intrinsic good. Ultimately, the definition of good can be categorized into two categories.

A general principle of the solution posits that the good is more valuable than its counterpart. According to utilitarians, a good is more valuable if it gives an agent more being. For hedonists, a good should be a reward that adds to a person’s dignity and worth. The latter view is the result of a selfish nature that requires men to seek gratification through self-fulfillment.

St. Thomas believes that moral goodness is determined by man’s nature. While man’s nature is inextricably linked to his vocation, this principle is not the same as the one of the good. In other words, the standard of morality is human nature. Whether or not a person is good or evil is based on the nature of that person. This is a balancing act of choice, and it may be erroneous or imperfect, but ultimately, it bears the stamp of that person.

The ontological good refers to man’s corporeal-spiritual being. This concept is sometimes compared to an anthropological exemplar. While ontological good may be desirable in and of itself, it does not necessarily represent the ultimate human wellbeing. The moral good, on the other hand, refers to the ultimate good. This term is not as common in formal speech as the former, and should be avoided whenever possible. There are many examples of ontological and moral good in the real world.

Various systems of philosophy have attempted to define good and evil. However, a universal norm of goodness has emerged. Kant emphasized the existence of ontological good. This is based on the idea that a human action is good if it conforms to an autonomous reason and demonstrates devotion to duty. The latter is derived from the notion of the good embodied in the life of a model person. If the action embodies the originality of existence, it must be good.

While the concept of the good was first used in the Greek language to refer to a pleasant experience, it eventually came to mean something more objective. The good in this case can be a product of human activity or the activity itself. Aristotle also emphasized that the good could be a hierarchy of goods, and that lower ends were only desired as means to the ultimate. However, he recognized that a higher end was necessary for man to reach the true meaning of good.