Might anything be plain good?

Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3335-3346 (2016)
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G.E. Moore said that rightness was obviously a matter of maximising plain goodness. Peter Geach and Judith Thomson disagree. They have both argued that ‘good’ is not a predicative adjective, but only ever an attributive adjective: just like ‘big.’ And just as there is no such thing as plain bigness but only ever big for or as a so-and-so, there is also no such thing as plain goodness. They conclude that Moore’s goodness is thus a nonsense. However attention has been drawn to a weakness in their arguments. Mahrad Almotahari and Adam Hosein have sought to plug that weakness. If their plug holds, then there is no goodness. Doing most of their work is the following premise: adjective φ is predicative only if it can be used predicatively in ‘x is a φ K’ otherwise it is attributive. In this paper I argue that this premise is false, that their plug does not hold and that if one is to reject plain goodness it will have to be for other reasons.

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Thomas Byrne
University of California, Los Angeles


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