This book explores the question "What is a Good Life?" from the perspectives of several major regulative ends characteristic of human lives. The question of what is a good life for a human being has been central in western classical, medieval, and early modern moral philosophy, as well as in much of oriental philosophy. With the rise of modern democracies, the industrial revolution, and the impact of such enlightenment philosophers as John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and more recently John Rawls, fresh emphases have emerged upon the character of a right or just life for a human being. In the wake of totalitarian violations of human rights and growing awareness of injustices to women and minorities, concentration upon rights and duties has given practical reinforcement to the current emphasis upon the legitimate demands of right and justice. However, very significant moral philosophers, including Sir Anthony Shaftesbury, Francis Hutchison, David Hume, Adam Smith, and growing numbers of contemporary writers, among whom are important advocates of "virtue ethics," have continued to recognize the crucial role of the requirements of good life in any adequate moral philosophy or way of living.
The present inquiry endeavors, while preserving full awareness of the vital requirements of just community, to help to clarify and keep in appropriate focus the character and role of good life in any satisfactory moral philosophy or way of living.
Thomas E. Hill is the author of four previous books concerning ethics, theories of knowledge, and meaning. He taught for many years as a Distinguished Professor at Macalester College, and he is now a Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Educated at Davidson College, Union Seminary in Richmond, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Tubingen, he also spent several terms as a visiting scholar at Harvard and Oxford.
Commendatory Preface - Thomas E. Hill, Jr. i Foreword - Thomas E. Hill, Sr. iv Introduction - Thomas. E. Hill, Sr. 1 Chapter I: What Is It for Anything to Be Good? 5 1. Primary Function and Import of Claims that Things Are Good 5 2. The Ordered Components and Common Structures of Claims that Things Are Good 8 3. Being Good from a Restricted Point of View 14 4. Being Good in an Inclusive Perspective or Overall 19 5. Basic Requirements for Anything's Being Overall Good 23 Chapter II: What is a Life of a Human Being? 35 1. The Inherited Capacities and Dispositions of a Human Being 35 2. The Environments of a Human Being 39 3. The Principal Ends of a Human Being 46 4. The Ongoing Life of a Human Being 54 5. Basic Requirements for a Good Life Overall for a Human Being 57 Chapter III: A Good Life from the Point of View of Personal Happiness 63 1. The End of Personal Happiness 63 2. Modes of Life Directed to the End of Personal Happiness 69 3. Evaluation of Modes of Life Directed to the End of Personal Happiness 81 Chapter IV: A Good Life from the Point of View of Personal Fulfillment 93 1. The End of Personal Fulfillment 93 2. Modes of Life Directed to the End of Personal Fulfillment 102 3. Evaluation of Modes of Life Directed to the End of Personal Fulfillment 113 Chapter V: A Good Life from the Point of View of Just Community 127 1. The End of Just Community 127 2. Modes of Life Directed to the End of Just Community 167 3. Evaluation of Modes of Life Directed to the End of Just Community 172 Chapter VI: A Good Life from the Point of View of Loving Community 187 1. The End of Loving Community 187 2. Modes of Life Oriented to the End of Loving Community 197 3. Evaluation of Modes of Life Oriented to the End of Loving Community 214 A Concluding Comment 226 Select Bibliography 230 Index 241