Utilitas 28 (1):119-122 (2016)

Julie Tannenbaum
Pomona College
In Against Absolute Goodness Richard Kraut aims to show that absolute goodness (or badness) is not reason-giving; it plays no role is justifying or requiring certain attitudes and no role in reasoning about what to do. It passes the buck (it never adds to the weightiness of more specific reasons) and so for practical purposes can be ignored. However, he claims that the notions of ‘a good R’ (e.g. a good play) and ‘good for S’ do justify certain attitudes and play important roles in practical reasoning and do not pass the buck. In this review I critique Kraut’s argument that the notions of ‘a good R’ (e.g. a good play) and ‘good for S’ differ from absolute goodness in these ways. Moreover, I discuss and defend Aristotle’s notion of ‘the fine’ or ‘noble’ (καλόν) and Kant’s notion of unconditional goodness.
Keywords absolute goodness  unconditional goodness  good for  teleological
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820815000448
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