All of a sudden on p. 99 Moore starts talking about “absolute” and “Universal” goods without ever defining either term.

His argument is as follows. Hedonists argue that pleasure is the sole good. But whose pleasure? Well, Egoists say that Smith’s pleasure is the sole good for Smith. But, Moore objects, then Jones’ pleasure is the sole good for Jones. The “fundamental contradiction of Egoism is that immense number of different things are, each of them, the sole good.”

If Smith’s happiness is good, then “everyone has an equal reason to pursue it, so far as they are able and so far as it does not exclude their attainment of other more valuable parts of Universal Good. In short it is plain that the addition of ‘for him’ ‘for me’ to such words as ‘ultimate rational end,’ ‘good,’ ‘important’ can introduce nothing but confusions.”

But wait a minute. There is no such thing as an absolute human good. The only good that may contend for this quality is “true happiness” as an abstract type of good that all humans pursue. Smith pursues true happiness, and so is Jones, etc.

Of course, each person pursues his own version of true happiness. Eating vanilla ice cream makes Smith happy but not Jones who likes chocolate ice cream. So, all good is relativized to individuals. Now consider Smith’s actions. He seeks his own true happiness. Which is good. But is not Jones’ object of his own search a good even from Smith’s point of view? Yes, but only to the extent that Smith loves Jones and wills good to him. In which case, Jones’ happiness overflows into Smith and becomes Smith’s. So, from Smith’s point of view, there is no good other than his own true happiness, which, since it involves perfected nature, entails also charity for neighbor and rejoicing in their true happiness, as well. If Smith instead hated Jones, then Jones’ happiness would in no way be Smith’s good; if Smith was, say, an avenger of blood, then he would suffer upon seeing Jones happy.

Who Smith will love, how intensely, etc., is Smith’s free choice, but generally speaking, people who love their fellow men are much happier than those who do not.

The universal good is also relativized, except this time to an “impartial observer” or to the Ruler of the universe, such as God, whose pleasure consists in maximizing the total true happiness over all people.

The human good then is relativized, but within each compartment, “for” Smith, “for” Jones, etc., there is only one supreme sole good: true happiness. Each person is a “microcosm” containing a unique ultimate good for its own self.

The absolute good belongs to the 3rd-grade God only and consists not in true happiness (though the 2nd-level Father-Son-Holy Spirit possesses it in an infinite amount) but in that principle whose self-diffusion creates things-that-seek-and-enjoy-true-happiness.

If there is no Smith in the first place, then there is no happiness for Smith. It is a straightforward deduction from this to set apart the Creator of Smith as something sui generis.


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