• Bob Ross
    1k
    Goodness has two historical meanings: hypothetical and actual perfection. The former is perfection for (i.e., utility towards) some purpose (e.g., a good clock is a clock that can tell the time, a good car can transport things, a good calculator can perform mathematical calculations, etc.); and the latter is perfection in-itself (i.e., a good organism, clock, phone, plant, etc. is one which is in harmony and unity with itself). The former is pragmatic goodness; and the latter moral goodness.

    For those who cannot fathom perfection as it is in-itself, simply imagine a wild jungle in complete disarray, everything trying to impede on everything else, and now imagine a jungle in which everything is in complete harmony and unity: the former is in a state of absolute (actual) imperfection, and the latter in a state of absolute (actual) perfection—it is not perfection relative to some goal or purpose endowed unto it by a subject, nay, it is perfect qua perfection (viz., perfection in terms of solely what it is in-itself).

    Each of the two types of goodness has within them higher and lower goodness, each according to their contextual size (viz., a good which is about a smaller context is lower than one which is about a larger context). The lowest pragmatic good is particular utility (i.e., what is perfect for this purpose) and the highest is universal utility (i.e., what is perfect for every purpose); the lowest moral good is particular harmony and unity (i.e., that this is perfect) and the highest is universal harmony and unity (i.e., that everything is perfect).

    Moral goodness is higher than pragmatic goodness because it deals with actual (as opposed to hypothetical) perfection; and the highest moral good is universal harmony and unity (and this is why altruism morally better than egoism). Morality, then, in its most commonly used sense, is simply an attempt at sorting out how one should behave in correspondence to how one can best align themselves with universal harmony and unity; and pragmatism, then, in its most commonly used sense, is an attempt at understanding the best ways to achieve purposes (even if they purposes are only granted for the sake of deriving those best means) so that one has readily at their disposal the best means of achieving any purpose.

    Neither studies [of pragmatism nor morality] are, when understood as described hereon, non-objective: the best means of achieving a purpose (or purposes) and the best means of achieving (actual) perfection are both stance-independent. These studies are as objective as they come, and are both essential to practical life: morality being essential to living a good life, and pragmatism being essential to achieving that good life.

    Politically, a society centered on pragmatic goodness will tend towards anarchism (i.e., each man is given, ideally, the knowledge of and power to achieve his own ends) and a society centered on moral goodness will tend towards democracy (i.e., each man is given, ideally, equal representation and liberties, but also duties to their fellow man to uphold a harmonious and united state).

    Goodness is not normative: it is the property of having hypothetical or actual perfection. Normativity arises out of the nature of subjects: cognition and conation supply something new to reality—the assessment of or desire for how things should be (as opposed to how they are). Moral goodness, for example, is just the state of being in self-harmony and self-unity: it does not indicate itself whether something should be in that state. It is up to subjects to choose what should be, and a (morally) good man simply chooses that things should be (morally) good.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

    Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

    I struggle to follow your argument - possibly because I am not a philosopher and also because I regard words like goodness, evil and perfection as being contingent and subject to personal or intersubjective worldviews.

    a good clock is a clock that can tell the time,Bob Ross

    Only if you agree that telling time is the chief function of a clock. As someone who has spent a lot of time in horology circles, the idea of a 'good' clock is subject to many other considerations, telling time may be the least important - age, maker, decorative appeal, historic significance, may all rate higher than time telling. I guess what I'm saying is that when you come to establishing what is good you are trapped by the criteria of value you use to establish merit.

    Can you demonstrate an instantiation of perfection about which we can all agree upon so that I can see what perfection 'looks' like?
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    I think it's more reasonable to assume that the meanings of discursive terms like "perfection" "in itself" "good" "moral" "pragmatic" "harmony" "absolute" ... are context-dependent rather than 'Platonic universals' as assumed apparently by the statements in the OP.

    some varied (modern) readings:

    On the Genealogy of Morals, F. Nietzsche
    Human Nature and Conduct, John Dewey
    The Sovereignty of Good, I. Murdoch
    Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit
    Natural Goodness, P. Foot
    Creating Capabilities, M. Nussbaum
  • Vaskane
    643
    The problem with metaphysicians is their dependencies to take what exists in various gradations and go on to reduce them two values.
  • Vaskane
    643
    Interestingly enough Nietzsche states that "the 'evil' man of one morality is merely the 'good' man of the other morality. Which can, in a sense, be directly applied to @Bob Ross's evaluation "Pragmatism" and "Moral" even in the Justice department and their codification of laws, the two often conflict, pragmatism and moral, to such an extent that pragmatism can often be viewed as immoral. There probably aren't* that many people though who see pragmatism as objectively evil. Extremists most likely, which also interestingly enough plays into Nietzsche's GoM 10 as well. The resentment of extremists stems from their Objectivity.

    *edited correction
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    Goodness is not normative: it is the property of having hypothetical or actual perfection.Bob Ross

    The property of being measured by any standard is always going to be subjective. You repeatedly use human artefacts as exemplars of goodness. Those are not even an objective cases to begin with; human intentionality is literally constitutive of what a car or a clock or a radio is. You say to imagine a wild jungle in complete disarray versus one that is in harmony. That is simply absurd. Natural systems are in a constant process of evolution and change, so there is never any criterion for preferring one configuration over another, let alone a perspective from which to apply it.

    Good is irretrievably subjective and normative.
  • Vaskane
    643
    Seems to me the Jungle is already at harmony in its various gradations of life death growth and rot such that it thrives and new forms of life can even be found within such a teeming and toiling ecosystem.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    ↪Pantagruel Seems to me the Jungle is already at harmony in its various gradations of life death growth and rot such that it thrives and new forms of life can even be found within such a teeming and toiling ecosystem.Vaskane

    :up:
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I struggle to follow your argument - possibly because I am not a philosopher and also because I regard words like goodness, evil and perfection as being contingent and subject to personal or intersubjective worldviews.

    Which part did you disagree with or were confused by? I am more than happy to elaborate.

    Only if you agree that telling time is the chief function of a clock

    I did not argue this in the OP: I said that pragmatic goodness is about utility towards a purpose (or purposes), and an example of this is a ‘good’ clock in ordinary language: we say a clock is ‘good’ when it can adequately tell the time—because it fulfills the commonly accepted purpose of telling the time that it was designed for.

    Can you demonstrate an instantiation of perfection about which we can all agree upon so that I can see what perfection 'looks' like?

    Which kind of perfection?
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    The problem with metaphysicians is their dependencies to take what exists in various gradations and go on to reduce them two values.

    I am not following: could you please elaborate?
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Although I don't completely agree with Nietzsche, he is one of my favorite philosophers. However, I don't think he adequately refuted moral realism; but his work on individuality is unmatched.

    Likewise, I don't see (as of yet) how any of your responses adequately refuted or contended with moral realism--let alone the particular one explicated in the OP.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    The property of being measured by any standard is always going to be subjective.

    If by ‘standard’ you are referring to something normative, then I completely agree; and this does not negate the OP.

    human intentionality is literally constitutive of what a car or a clock or a radio is

    Yes, but pragmatic goodness applies to everything: it is just goodness in the sense of utility.

    Natural systems are in a constant process of evolution and change, so there is never any criterion for preferring one configuration over another, let alone a perspective from which to apply it.

    That natural systems have a constant process of evolution has nothing to do if there is a (non-normative) standard of moral goodness. This is just a non-sequitur, until you justify this comment.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Why? You gave absolutely no justification for your assertions.

    By 'context-dependent', I am assuming you don't mean 'subject-dependent'; so if it is not sociological or psychological, then what context are you referring to here?
  • kindred
    18
    Is goodness defined by the actions it is able to perform as part of its inherent design or evolution ? Or can it be ascribed to any mundane objects such as a rock ?

    Thinking here of man made objects and natural organisms if they’re not able to fulfil the function/s of their intended design would you say that such organisms or inventions are not good in this sense?

    A paper printer that does not print correctly or not print at all by virtue of not fulfilling its function would lack goodness, and thus would be a bad printer even though originally it was good when it was able to function correctly. @Bob Ross

    Man though is different and able of goodness or lack of, so it’s inherently neither, as goodness is judged upon the actions one performs and whether they’re beneficial to the individual within the context of the society they operate in, in obedience to its laws, customs and regulations. A breach of such laws would be considered not good as the punishment would be to the detriment of the individual.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Can you demonstrate an instantiation of perfection about which we can all agree upon so that I can see what perfection 'looks' like?

    Which kind of perfection?
    Bob Ross

    Any.

    Only if you agree that telling time is the chief function of a clock

    I did not argue this in the OP: I said that pragmatic goodness is about utility towards a purpose (or purposes), and an example of this is a ‘good’ clock in ordinary language: we say a clock is ‘good’ when it can adequately tell the time—because it fulfills the commonly accepted purpose of telling the time that it was designed for.
    Bob Ross

    You've just repeated my point in different words. I said that identifying what counts as good is subject to a multiplicity of potential criteria. How do we deicide which is the right frame?

    I suspect we are not going to agree - I am more interested in quesions and peeling back presuppositions and in recognizing the role of personal values and you seem more interested in locating some form of objectivity from experince.

    But I would be interested in your example of perfection.
  • Pantagruel
    3.2k
    Yes, but pragmatic goodness applies to everything: it is just goodness in the sense of utility.Bob Ross

    Yeah, I don't get this at all. Anything human made is human value-laden. What you are saying makes less than no sense to me.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Your objections do not make sense to me. I've not made any "assertions", Bob, you have in your OP, and I find them based on arbitrary (i.e. context-free yet non-formal) definitions which you fail to provide any discursive reasons, or justification, for me/us to accept rather than some other definitions. For instance "goodness" – but I'm not a Platonist (i.e. essentialist). This is why I recommended some disparate readings in modern moral philosophy.
  • Vaskane
    643
    All I was getting at is through examining Goodness as a two part Pragmatic/Moral dichotomy, you reduce the concept to something other than what it truly is, not that you aren't already aware of that, it's just something Nietzsche warns about. Dichotomies are useful for discussions but ultimately only represent a pale reflection of reality basically. As long as you're aware acts are generally going to be a mixture of "pragmatic and moral" like a sliding bar between the two that creates various color gradations. Add more sliding bars for more colors when you go beyond "Pragmatic" and "Moral."
  • Corvus
    2.4k
    Goodness is not normative: it is the property of having hypothetical or actual perfection. Normativity arises out of the nature of subjects: cognition and conation supply something new to reality—the assessment of or desire for how things should be (as opposed to how they are). Moral goodness, for example, is just the state of being in self-harmony and self-unity: it does not indicate itself whether something should be in that state. It is up to subjects to choose what should be, and a (morally) good man simply chooses that things should be (morally) good.Bob Ross
    I am just a reader not a philosopher, so most of my views are likely to be from the common sensical ideas. But isn't moral goodness a superfluous term? Why not just say, moral or immoral, instead of moral goodness and moral badness?

    Good is too wide term which is usually applied to the situations and things in daily life of the ordinary people. How are you? I am good. How was your weekend? It was good.
    Where are you off to this weekend? To a party. Have a good time.
    Buy some fish. Try to get good ones.

    But morally good? It sounds unclear. Is there such a thing or situation as morally good? Good for who? Isn't just being moral enough?
  • Lionino
    849
    and the latter is perfection in-itself (i.e., a good organism, clock, phone, plant, etc. is one which is in harmony and unity with itself)Bob Ross

    What is a concrete explanation of what that would be? Because the jungle example simply restates the same predicates "harmony" and "unity with itself" with a subject "jungle", without explaining what those predicates actually mean.

    and the latter moral goodnessBob Ross

    Is it? Is harmony and unity with itself a common feature of the normative principle of every major ethical theory? Because if it is not, there are many people who will disagree with your characterisation of moral goodness.

    Morality, then, in its most commonly used sense, is simply an attempt at sorting out how one should behave in correspondence to how one can best align themselves with universal harmony and unityBob Ross

    That would be a normative principle in itself, but harmony and unity are still not concretely defined.

    By your terms, a machine that pumps water up and down with 100% efficiency would be high on moral goodness, but nobody would want that machine because it is useless (low pragmatic goodness). I don't think anybody would ascribe moral goodness to a machine, especially when it has no agency.

    Moral agents are those agents expected to meet the demands of morality. Not all agents are moral agents. Young children and animals, being capable of performing actions, may be agents in the way that stones, plants and cars are not. But though they are agents they are not automatically considered moral agents. For a moral agent must also be capable of conforming to at least some of the demands of morality.https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/moral-agents/v-1

    What you wrote is suggestive that you are trying to describe a type of goodness that is related though different from moral goodness proper, and calling it "moral goodness" confuses your argument.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Is goodness defined by the actions it is able to perform as part of its inherent design or evolution ?

    This question is predicated off of the assumption that one is talking about pragmatic goodness; and, with respect thereto, it would defined in terms of how a thing fulfills its purpose. This is not dependent on actions necessarily, unless its purpose entails some sort of action(s).

    Thinking here of man made objects and natural organisms if they’re not able to fulfil the function/s of their intended design would you say that such organisms or inventions are not good in this sense?

    When speaking of pragmatic goodness, I would say that purpose is subjective and it is different than function. Either way, if the generally acknowledged purpose of something (in the sense of its function, as you noted) is not being fulfilled, then it would be (pragmatically) ‘bad’.

    This is a separate question from whether it is morally ‘bad’.

    A paper printer that does not print correctly or not print at all by virtue of not fulfilling its function would lack goodness

    It would be pragmatically bad, if its purpose is to print paper; but not necessarily morally bad.

    Man though is different and able of goodness or lack of, so it’s inherently neither, as goodness is judged upon the actions one performs and whether they’re beneficial to the individual within the context of the society they operate in, in obedience to its laws, customs and regulations. A breach of such laws would be considered not good as the punishment would be to the detriment of the individual.

    Humans are evaluable under the same criteria as anything else: they are pragmatically good iff they fulfill their purpose, and they are morally good if they are actually perfect.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Any.

    Ok. Perfection is identical to flawlessness. There are only two types of perfection: hypothetical and actual perfection. The former is pragmatic goodness; the latter moral goodness.

    To try and bring out the contrast, let me use a perhaps odd example. A calculator would be hypothetically perfect if my purpose for it is to hold up books and it is flawless at fulfilling this task.
    The calculator is actually perfect if it is in a state of 100% (flawless) self-harmony and self-unity—i.e., all the parts are in agreement and peace with the other parts. The calculator isn’t broken, it doesn’t have parts that oppose other parts in a manner that brings disunity, etc.

    Only if you agree that telling time is the chief function of a clock

    I did not argue this in the OP: I said that pragmatic goodness is about utility towards a purpose (or purposes), and an example of this is a ‘good’ clock in ordinary language: we say a clock is ‘good’ when it can adequately tell the time—because it fulfills the commonly accepted purpose of telling the time that it was designed for. — Bob Ross

    You've just repeated my point in different words

    There is no chief function of a clock, unless by that you just mean the most commonly accepted pragmatic purpose of a clock. Then I agree.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Yes, human made objects are made with human intentions and values. However, the purpose for that human made object is whatever a person wants it to be, because pragmatism is just about gathering knowledge about utility of objects to obtain particular goals. Yes, this can imply that people will make objects crafted specially for their own purposes. I don't think the OP disagreed with that in any way.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Recommending readings isn't a valid justification of your contentions. You just claimed that my use of goodness is context-dependent, without elaborating on what that even means: that's the definition of a blanket assertion. If I am wrong, then please quote where you elaborated on what that means, and I will gladly concede.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I see. I don't understand how I have reduced goodness to something it isn't: how did I do that?

    Pragmatic vs. moral goodness is a valid dichotomy, as far as I can tell: it is not a spectrum.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    But isn't moral goodness a superfluous term? Why not just say, moral or immoral, instead of moral goodness and moral badness?

    Goodness is the property that ascribes whether or not something is moral or immoral, not vice-versa.

    But morally good? It sounds unclear. Is there such a thing or situation as morally good? Good for who? Isn't just being moral enough?

    The OP argues that moral goodness is actual perfection, which is self-harmony and self-unity.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    What is a concrete explanation of what that would be?

    The property of ‘being in self-harmony and self-unity’ is what perfection in-itself is: they are identical.

    In terms of an example, imagine a two rocks just laying there on top of a table vs. two rocks violently colliding with each other constantly: the former is in a state of harmony and unity, while the latter is clearly not.

    Is harmony and unity with itself a common feature of the normative principle of every major ethical theory?

    That is not a requirement for me to be right.

    harmony and unity are still not concretely defined.

    Harmony is a state of peace; and unity is oneness.

    By your terms, a machine that pumps water up and down with 100% efficiency would be high on moral goodness

    No. The efficiency only matters if we are talking about pragmatic goodness. As long as the water-pumping machine has harmonious parts and is unified, then it is actually perfect—even if it is not hypothetically perfect.

    What you wrote is suggestive that you are trying to describe a type of goodness that is related though different from moral goodness proper, and calling it "moral goodness" confuses your argument.

    I was trying to describe what moral goodness is—I was not describing an offshoot of moral goodness.
  • Lionino
    849
    In terms of an example, imagine a two rocks just laying there on top of a table vs. two rocks violently colliding with each other constantly: the former is in a state of harmony and unity, while the latter is clearly not.Bob Ross

    It is still not clear how that connects with morality. Where is the moral agency there?
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Well if my meaning isn't clear enough for you in my previous post, then I can't help you, Bob.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Ok. Perfection is identical to flawlessness. There are only two types of perfection: hypothetical and actual perfection. The former is pragmatic goodness; the latter moral goodness.Bob Ross

    What I meant was an actual instantiation of perfection, not more abstractions or discussions of usage. Let's look at something in the world which we can agree upon is an example of perfection.

    There is no chief function of a clock.. .Bob Ross

    Well if that's the case then we can't say what perfection in a clock looks like since there will be multiple competing possibilities as I have already described. I've already said that time keeping is but one dimension in those who collect clocks. :wink:
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment