The Attractions and Delights of Goodness

Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):353-367 (2004)
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What makes something good for me? Most contemporary philosophers argue that something cannot count as good for me unless I am in some way attracted to it, or take delight in it. However, subjectivist theories of prudential value face difficulties, and there is no consensus about how these difficulties should be resolved. Whether one opts for a hedonist or a desire-satisfaction account of prudential value, certain fundamental assumptions about human well-being must be abandoned. I argue that we should reconsider Plato's objectivist theory of goodness as unity, or the One. This view is both consistent with and explains our most basic views both about goodness in general and human well-being in particular.

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Jyl Gentzler
Amherst College


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