more from G.E. Moore

Single Idea 5903

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. The Good / 1. Goodness / c. Right and good]

Full Idea

'Right' does and can mean nothing but 'cause of a good result', and is thus identical with 'useful', whence it follows that the end always will justify the means.

Gist of Idea

'Right' means 'cause of good result' (hence 'useful'), so the end does justify the means


G.E. Moore (Principia Ethica [1903], 089)

Book Reference

Moore,G.E.: 'Principia Ethica' [CUP 1980], p.147

A Reaction

Of course, Moore does not identify utility with pleasure, as his notion of what is good concerns fairly Platonic ideals. Would Stalin's murders have been right if Russia were now the happiest nation on Earth?