The Ethics of Hercules: A Study of Man's Body as the Sole Determinant of Ethical Values

By Robert Chenault Givler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICATION OF THE WORD "GOOD"

". . . The majority attend to words rather than to things; and thus very frequently assent to terms without attaching to them any meaning, either because they think they once understood them, or imagine they received them from others by whom they were correctly understood. . . . Wherefore, if we would philosophize in earnest, and give ourselves to the search after all truths we are capable of knowing, we must, in the first place, lay aside our prejudices; in other words, we must take care scrupulously to withhold our assent from the opinions we have formerly admitted, until upon new examination we discover that they are true." DESCARTES, "The Principles of Philosophy," LXXIV, LXXV.

What do we mean by the word "good"? That is to say, how shall we describe the action-pattern which the stimulus of this word arouses in us? What does it mean when we use it, and what does it mean to us when others employ it in their speech? Before we can answer these questions, it is first essential to scan the list of things to which this word is applied, for only by so doing can we identify the

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