more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 5120

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. The Good / 2. Happiness / b. Eudaimonia]

Full Idea

If we base our ethics on human flourishing, one implication would seem to be moral relativism, since what counts as 'flourishing' seems inevitably relative to one or other set of values.

Gist of Idea

What counts as 'flourishing' must be relative to various sets of values


Gilbert Harman (Human Flourishing, Ethics and Liberty [1983], 9.2.1)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Explaining Value and Other Essays' [OUP 2000], p.156

A Reaction

This remark seems to make the relativist assumption that all value systems are equal. For Aristotle, flourishing is no more relative than health is. No one can assert that illness has an intrinsically high value in human life.