Ideas from 'Human Flourishing, Ethics and Liberty' by Gilbert Harman [1983], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Explaining Value and Other Essays' by Harman,Gilbert [OUP 2000,0-19-823804-5]].

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22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / d. Good as virtue
Basing ethics on flourishing makes it consequentialist, as actions are judged by contributing to it
                        Full Idea: Basing ethics on human flourishing tends towards utilitarianism or consequentialism; actions, character traits, laws, and so on are to be assessed with reference to their contributions to human flourishing.
                        From: Gilbert Harman (Human Flourishing, Ethics and Liberty [1983], 9.2.2)
                        A reaction: This raises the question of whether only virtue can contribute to flourishing, or whether a bit of vice might be helpful. This problem presumably pushed the Stoics to say that virtue itself is the good, rather than the resulting flourishing.
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / b. Eudaimonia
What counts as 'flourishing' must be relative to various sets of values
                        Full Idea: If we base our ethics on human flourishing, one implication would seem to be moral relativism, since what counts as 'flourishing' seems inevitably relative to one or other set of values.
                        From: Gilbert Harman (Human Flourishing, Ethics and Liberty [1983], 9.2.1)
                        A reaction: This remark seems to make the relativist assumption that all value systems are equal. For Aristotle, flourishing is no more relative than health is. No one can assert that illness has an intrinsically high value in human life.