Single Idea 7407

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / d. Ethical theory]

Full Idea

We call good and evil the things that please and displease us; and so we call goodness and badness, the qualities of powers whereby they do it.

Gist of Idea

Good and evil are what please us; goodness and badness the powers causing them


Thomas Hobbes (The Elements of Law [1640], I.7.3), quoted by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.2

Book Reference

Tuck,Richard: 'Hobbes: a very short introduction' [OUP 2002], p.62

A Reaction

It is pointed out by Tuck that this is just like his treatment of colour terms (values as secondary qualities). I would have thought it was obvious that I could say 'x pleases me, although I disapprove of it' (e.g. black humour).