Foot’s Grammar of Goodness

  • Micah Lott
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


My goal in this chapter is to provide a sympathetic interpretation of Foot’s grammar of goodness, clarifying and expanding it in a few places, and defending it against some objections. I begin by sketching Foot’s grammar. As I understand it, that grammar includes four main notions: (1) The Good Of, (2) Good As/Good In, (3) Good For, and (4) Goods/Good Things. I then consider the relation between Good For, on the one hand, and The Good Of and Good As, on the other. Is it always Good For a living thing to be Good As the kind of thing it is? Could something be Good For an organism without being part of The Good Of that kind of thing? I argue that Good For, Good As, and The Good Of are inseparable: What is Good For a living thing just is that which furthers or constitutes The Good Of such a creature, and The Good Of any creature is the actualization of those well-formed capacities that make it Good As the kind of creature that it is. In the final part of this chapter, I consider how happiness fits into Foot’s grammar of goodness as applied to human beings, paying special attention to the idea that The Good Of any living thing consists in a certain form of activity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Micah Lott
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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