Intrinsic And Merely Instrumental Good
Another important difference, first clearly enunciated by Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.), is that between what is "intrinsically good" (good in itself) and what is "instrumentally good" (good as a means to some other end). So, for instance, from the perspective of philosophical utilitarianism (the views, most prominently, of the nineteenth-century British thinkers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill), pleasure is the sole (intrinsic) good; other things, including money, health, and even such "virtues" as philosophers have traditionally recognized (honesty, generosity, integrity) are good merely as means to that end. By contrast, for Aristotle himself, the virtues would be both means to what he regards as the supreme end (eudaimonia—i.e., "happiness" or "well-being") but also part of that supreme good and thus, to that extent, ends in themselves.
Some have questioned, however (see Korsgaard), whether there might not be two differences here: good as a means versus good as an end; "intrinsic" versus "extrinsic" good. The difference between each pair is perhaps clearest in such cases as this. Someone might hold that the good of a beautiful sunset is "extrinsic," that it is grounded in something outside itself—say, human modes of perception and aesthetic response—but still resist holding that this sunset is good merely as a means to something else—for example, the enjoyment of those happening to see it.
- Good - Teleological Versus Consequentialist Views Of The Good
- Good - Moral Versus Nonmoral Good
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