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What is Good? - A Question without Answer.

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Introduction

Andria J. Williams Phil 022 Exam #1 9/23/03 What is Good? - A Question without Answer There are social norms in all societies that create universal laws and determine what is good and bad. The societal norms of America govern its citizen's everyday actions, but also lead them to be self-serving and individualistic. On the other hand, the norms of other countries may yield more towards the aggregate welfare of that particular country's culture and their people; however, this unity within a country's people still leaves worldly good or total aggregate good unobtainable. Psychological egoism summarizes this self-motivated search for individualistic good, through its definition, which states, "that the only thing anyone [or any group] is capable of desiring or pursuing ultimately is his own self-interest." (Pojman p.80) With this theory in mind, I argue that there is no such thing as true aggregate good. Hedonism suggests that well-being or good is based on a person's measure of the balance of pleasure over pain. ...read more.

Middle

The people in America work diligently within the country's democracy to better and bring more pleasure or good to themselves, without concern for others around them. Everything a person does is ultimately is for him or herself. Even an altruistic act has its sense of individualism. For instance, the seemingly altruistic act of giving to charity is purely self- motivated. Many people frequently indulge, giving time and money, in charitable acts, due to a sense of self-gratification. People think with the logic that if they perform charitable acts, these acts will be reciprocated in some way in the future, thus making that particular act self-serving. Self-sacrifices are only made with hopes of some feeling of pleasure within one's self, and it just happens to be a coincidence that someone else gains happiness from these strivings. There is no such thing as true altruism; there are always selfish, individualistic underlying motives. The argument against aggregate good also stands when thinking about the objective list theory as well. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the consequences outweigh the good, in their minds, they must not indulge in the act. However, you should engage in an act if the opposite is found to be true, wherein the good outweighs the consequences. If this theory is followed individual good can be obtained; however, I cannot assure that aggregate good will follow, or for that matter, if aggregate good exists. All of the previous theories of the good are based on aggregate welfare, not taking into account people's individuality. The quest for aggregate good is impracticable, because the good of the whole is practically non-existent. There is no possible way to satisfy any group of people, much less the world. What is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. One must get past the various background differences in order to achieve the goal of total aggregate good. Only the formation of a homogenous race could accomplish this task. Given the above information, there is no possible way to determine what is good for the whole. The only thing that is determinable is individual good. ...read more.

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