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Teleological Versus Consequentialist Views Of The Good

There are actually two major, competing, nondeontological traditions of the good. One, running from Aristotle to the pragmatic naturalism of American philosophers such as John Dewey (1859–1952) and Ralph Barton Perry (1876–1957) in the first half of the twentieth century, is "teleological"—that is, it construes the good in terms of the fulfillment of such ends as are natural or proper to a creature. Thus the good is conceived as internal or immanent. By contrast, the consequentialist holds that the good is some quantity to be maximized (produced in or by our acts). Against the teleological conception, the consequentialist may object that teleology stands in need of some standard of value (like that provided by utilitarianism) to distinguish between good and bad tendencies in us. Against consequentialism, the teleologist may object that a merely external standard (such as utilitarianism offers) need not provide a compelling reason or motive of action.

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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