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Moral Versus Nonmoral Good

There is an important difference between "moral" and other types of value (e.g., aesthetic, economic, or informational). One might say, broadly, that the nonmoral good is what we find "attractive," what is apt to serve as enjoyment; whereas the moral good is that which pertains more narrowly to moral virtue or moral rules. Hence at the very beginning of his Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) distinguishes "the good will" (the will that acts on the basis of the moral law) as what possesses the highest moral value. In comparison, all other things—even such good qualities as courage and intelligence—have, in Kant's doctrine, at best a kind of relative moral goodness: they are morally good only insofar as they are guided by a good will.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Glucagon to HabitatGood - Moral Versus Nonmoral Good, Intrinsic And Merely Instrumental Good, Teleological Versus Consequentialist Views Of The Good