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Inspirational kind of story.
Chapter 2: Defining Righteousness
What is righteousness? Righteousness, in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, March 1, 2023, has a definition of “Morally right or justifiable.” Many dictionaries share a definition similar to this. Something that is morally right or justifiable would be considered good, in most, if not all, cases. Since producing something “good” is considered morally right or justifiable, righteousness must be the production of good, with the most righteous thing one can do being to produce the most amount of good possible. This leads to the questions, what is “good”? and how does one produce the most amount of it possible?
Innately, we have an idea of what “good” should be or mean, yet it is hard to describe without some thought. Christine Korsgaard1states “‘Good’ is the most general term of positive evaluation, used to recommend or express approval in a wide range of contexts. It indicates that a thing is desirable or worthy of choice.” This positive evaluation is used in one of two ways: 1. as a statement of utility/value 2. denoting an attribute that could be useful in producing utility/value.
By, “a statement of utility,” I do not mean the interpretation of instrumentally good; the idea that something is valuable because it helps one achieve something that puts them closer to achieving actual value. In economics, utility is the satisfaction one receives from a good or service. A utile, sometimes spelled util, is a quantification of this, so that differing magnitudes of utility can be numerically compared. Utility is acquired through resource acquisition, which is not to necessarily say through the acquisition of physical things. This is why services, such as educational services and counseling, are also things that can provide utility. A resource can be anything that further promotes and benefits someone’s needs or desires, ie. physical, psychological, emotional, physical characteristics like health and strength, etc. So, from this viewpoint, the first way good is usually used is as a statement of resource acquisition, which is why there is sometimes a need to clarify from who’s perspective something is good, such as “Good for him,” “Good for them,” “Good for you,” when such phrases are not sarcastic.
Use number two relates to use number one, in that it relates to resource acquisition, yet not one that is actually realized. This is the type when someone comments on the above average quality of something, such as calling someone a “Good runner,” or saying a work of music is a “Good album.” This version of utility is not readily recognized, as the intention behind the word is not the same as the first use, yet the logical implications behind the use have the same result. Logic table ensuing.
These are the two ways in which good is used. Now that we know that good is about resource acquisition, we can begin to examine the question that led to defining good, which is how to be righteous, and produce the most amount of good possible.
Chapter 3: Practicing Righteousness
1. Korsgaard, Christine M.. Good, theories of the, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L032-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/good-theories-of-the/v-1.
Saving payoff matrix for later. This is Prisoner’s Dilemma, for anyone wondering.
Confess Don’t confess
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