Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On good and ‘good’
by Shanklin, Robert Elstone, III, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2011, 336; 3478009
Abstract (Summary)

Many fundamental questions in Ethics concern the nature and structure of goodness. While investigations of goodness have often attended to the variety of ways in which we use the word 'good,' I take a distinctive approach by turning to recent results from theoretical Linguistics. Cross-linguistic evidence strongly suggests that 'good' has a single meaning. However, a close look at the formal grammar of 'good' suggests that there are indeed robustly distinct ways in which we use 'good,' which do not collapse into some fundamental or paradigmatic one (as some have argued). Hence, I motivate and defend the view that 'good' is highly contextually sensitive such that its interpretation is affected not only by the various contexts in which we use it, but also by the various sentences in which we use it. In light of these insights, I propose answers to fundamental questions such as "which of the various uses of 'good' are ethically significant?"..."what, if anything, do all good things have in common?"..."is goodness a property?" and "what relations does moral goodness bear to other sorts of goodness?"

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Higginbotham, James
Commitee: Finlay, Stephen, Schein, Barry, Schroeder, Mark
School: University of Southern California
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Ethics
Keywords: Contextual sensitivity, Good, Goodness, Language, Metaethics, Moral, Value theory
Publication Number: 3478009
ISBN: 978-1-124-95157-7
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