What Is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being / Edition 1

What Is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being / Edition 1

by Richard Kraut
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674024419

ISBN-13: 9780674024410

Pub. Date: 04/28/2007

Publisher: Harvard University Press

What is good? How can we know, and how important is it? In this book Richard Kraut, one of our most respected analytical philosophers, reorients these questions around the notion of what causes human beings to flourish--that is, what is good for us. Observing that we can sensibly talk about what is good for plants and animals no less than what is good for people,

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Overview

What is good? How can we know, and how important is it? In this book Richard Kraut, one of our most respected analytical philosophers, reorients these questions around the notion of what causes human beings to flourish--that is, what is good for us. Observing that we can sensibly talk about what is good for plants and animals no less than what is good for people, Kraut advocates a general principle that applies to the entire world of living things: what is good for complex organisms consists in the maturation and exercise of their natural powers.

Drawing on the insights of ancient Greek philosophy, Kraut develops this thought into a good-centered moral philosophy, an "ethics of well-being" that requires all of our efforts to do some good. Even what is good of a kind--good poems no less than good people--must be good for someone. Pleasure plays a key role in this idea of flourishing life, but Kraut opposes the current philosophical orthodoxy of well-being, which views a person's welfare as a construct of rational desires or plans, actual or ideal.

The practical upshot of Kraut's theory is that many common human pursuits--for riches, fame, domination--are in themselves worthless, while some of the familiar virtues--justice, honesty, and autonomy--are good for every human being.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674024410
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xi
In Search of Good     1
A Socratic Question     1
Flourishing and Well-Being     3
Mind and Value     8
Utilitarianism     11
Rawls and the Priority of the Right     21
Right, Wrong, Should     24
The Elimination of Moral Rightness     26
Rules and Good     29
Categorical Imperatives     35
Conflicting Interests     37
Whose Good? The Egoist's Answer     39
Whose Good? The Utilitarian's Answer     41
Self-Denial, Self-Love, Universal Concern     48
Pain, Self-Love, and Altruism     57
Agent-Neutrality and Agent-Relativity     61
Good, Conation, and Pleasure     66
"Good" and "Good for"     66
"Good for" and Advantage     67
"Good that" and "Bad that"     71
Pleasure and Advantage     77
Good for S That P     79
The 'for" of "Good for"     81
Plants, Animals, Humans     88
Ross on Human Nature     91
The Perspectival Reading of "Good for"     92
The Conative Approach to Well-Being     94
Abstracting from the Content of Desires and Plans     99
The Faulty Mechanisms of Desire Formation     101
Infants and Adults     104
The Conation of an Ideal Self     109
The Appeal of the Conative Theory     113
Conation Hybridized     116
Strict Hedonism     120
Hedonism Diluted     126
Prolegomenon to Flourishing     131
Development and Flourishing: The General Theory     131
Development and Flourishing: The Human Case     135
More Examples of What Is Good     141
Appealing to Nature     145
Sensory Un-flourishing     148
Affective Flourishing and Un-flourishing     153
Hobbes on Tranquillity and Restlessness     158
Flourishing and Un-flourishing as a Social Being     161
Cognitive Flourishing and Un-flourishing     164
Sexual Flourishing and Un-flourishing     166
Too Much and Too Little     168
Comparing Lives and Stages of Life     170
Adding Goods: Rawls's Principle of Inclusiveness     172
Art, Science, and Culture     176
Self-Sacrifice     180
The Vanity of Fame     183
The Vanity of Wealth     187
Making Others Worse-Off     188
Virtues and Flourishing     191
The Good of Autonomy     196
What Is Good and Why     202
The Sovereignty of Good     205
The Importance of What Is Good for Us     205
Good's Insufficiency     211
Promises     215
Retribution     225
Cosmic Justice     228
Social Justice     231
Pure Antipaternalism     234
Moral Space and Giving Aid     238
Slavery     243
Torture     248
Moral Rightness Revisited     250
Lying     257
Honoring the Dead     261
Meaningless Goals and Symbolic Value     263
Good-Independent Realms of Value     266
Good Thieves and Good Human Beings     269
Final Thoughts     271
Works Cited     275
Index     281

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