Categorizing Goods

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Vol 5. Oxford University Press (2010)
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Historically the terms “final,” “unconditional,” and “intrinsic” have played a foundational role in ethical theory. I argue that final/instrumental distinction is best understood in terms of the for-sake-of relation and involves a tri-part division of goods. I show that this first way of categorizing goods is more closely aligned with a second way of categorizing goods in terms of intrinsic/extrinsic goods than has thus far been acknowledged. Lastly, I distinguish yet a third way of categorizing goods: unconditional/conditional goods. While the final/instrumental and intrinsic/extrinsic distinctions have received the lion’s share of philosophical attention, the unconditional/conditional distinction is no less important.



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Julie Tannenbaum
Pomona College

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