more from G.E. Moore

Single Idea 5907

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism]

Full Idea

Moore's 'Ideal Utilitarianism' seems to unduly simplify our relations to our fellows. My neighbours are merely possible beneficiaries by my action. But they also stand to me as promiser, creditor, husband, friend, which entails prima facie duties.


'Prima facie' means 'at first glance', 'without further discussion'

Gist of Idea

Relationships imply duties to people, not merely the obligation to benefit them


comment on G.E. Moore (Principia Ethica [1903]) by W. David Ross - The Right and the Good žII

Book Reference

Ross,W.David: 'The Right and the Good' [OUP 1930], p.19

A Reaction

Perhaps it is better to say that we have obligations to benefit particular people, because of our obligations, and that we are confined to particular benefits which meet those obligations - not just any old benefit to any old person.