Goodness and Truth

Philosophy 67 (262):507 - 521 (1992)
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I begin with the common distinction between study which is for its own sake and study which is for some other reason. It is often assumed that when study is not for its own sake then it is for the sake of a career. But there are many and subtle ways in which a student's concern with his or her subject may be deflected from its intrinsic good. And there are ways of being concerned with its intrinsic good which are quite trivial. Therefore, if we are concerned with what may go deep in a student's life—as surely we must be if we are concerned with its ethical or spiritual possibilities—then we cannot rest with the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic goods. A student with a vocation for healing who studies medicine in response to it, or a student who loves justice and who studies law in that spirit and with a view to practising it, is doing something finer than is a philosophy or history student who is merely enchanted with natural pleasures which come with the disciplined exercise of the powers of the mind



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