Topic: G.E. Moore: the Indefinability of Good.

Topics: Ethics, Philosophy of language, Philosophy Pages: 3 (948 words) Published: December 11, 2005
Topic: G.E. Moore: The Indefinability of Good.

In all the ethical philosophy we have been taught until this point, it has been commonly accepted that Ethics was indefinitely an examination of human conduct and how we react to each situation that arises. G. E. Moore, a philosopher from Cambridge University, begins his discussion of ethics otherwise, rejecting this concept and instead offering up his own concept that states that ethics is "the general enquiry into what is good."

Many philosophers are to quick to accept the definition of Ethics as a study of what is good or bad in human conduct when Moore points out that Ethics is much more than that of human conduct, going on to include many other realms of thought. In order to explain this, Moore asks the question, "What is good?" He goes on to give examples of different things in life that he deems "good," such as books or pleasure, but decides that these answers to the question are not the solution he is looking for. He wants to find out what is good in another, more meaningful sense.

He does this again by asking another question, "What is the definition of ‘good'?" As he says, "this is an enquiry which belongs only to Ethics." In asking this question, Moore comes to the conclusion that the definition of good is in its most simple form, the most essential point in the definition of Ethics. He explains that there is no way to put a verbal or written definition to the word because it is in its most simple form. There are no simpler groupings of words which could make someone who does not understand or have any idea to its concept, understand what is meant by ‘good'.

When explaining the concept of a tree, there are many distinct characteristics that make up a tree that a blind man who has never seen one before could understand based on other simpler concepts he already understands. But once that tree's description has been broken down to its simplest characteristics, it is...
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