Defining Goodness

Simona Aimar


G. E. Moore’s Open Question Argument has it that there is no satisfactory definition of the term “good.” Cornell realists purport to meet Moore’s challenge by adopting an externalist semantics of ethical terms. On the face of it, non-cognitivists point out that an externalist theory of meaning cannot account for the practical function of moral discourse. This paper suggests (1) that there are two different cases for the indefinability of goodness: a Moorean version and a Humean (or non-cognitivist) version; and (2) that an apt modification of Cornell realism, as the one offered by Mark Van Roojen, can meet both versions of the Open Question Argument.*



* Many thanks to Sarah Broadie and Julien Murzi.


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