Again, it is analytically part of the meaning of “good” that it ought to be.

But for any natural thing, it is an “open question” whether it ought to be. For example, ought “what is desired” always to be? Maybe sometimes for some person but certainly not essentially. Therefore, “what is desired” cannot be equivalent to “good.”

First, note that “good” is relative to an individual or the human race and the judgments they make. We are not concerned with what is good for gorillas or lizard space aliens.

In my book, I describe something called “true happiness,” and I think it qualifies more than anything for the property “such that it is always and for all individuals ought to be.”

My rendition of natural law also allows me to say that inflicting pointless, deliberate cruelty on the cat is “evil,” i.e., always and for everyone ought not to be.

God who is goodness is different, because, though goodness and hence God are good, it is not the case that God ought to be, because God is, always has been, and cannot fail to continue to be.

Perhaps the definition of “good” can be thereby expanded: what is purely good is the set {God, human true happiness, all things that are at one time or another conducive to true happiness}.

Categories: Metaethics


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