In Search of Goodness

In Search of Goodness

Ruth W. Grant

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226306834

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

What does a good life look like? How do people become good? Are there multiple, competing possibilities for what counts as a good life, all equally worthy? Or, is there a unified and transcendent conception of the good that should guide our judgment of the possibilities? What does a good life look like when it is guided by God? How is a good life involved with the lives of others? And, finally, how good is good enough? These questions are the focus of this book, the product of a year-long conversation about goodness. Its eight chapters challenge the dichotomies that usually govern how goodness has been discussed in the past: altruism versus egoism; reason versus emotion; or moral choice versus moral character. Instead, the contributors seek to expand the terms of the discussion by coming at goodness from a variety of perspectives: psychological, philosophic, literary, religious, and political. In each case, they emphasize the lived realities and particulars of moral phenomena, taking up examples and illustrations from life, literature, and film—from Achilles and Billy Budd, to Oskar Schindler and Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, to Iris Murdoch and the citizens of Flagstaff, Arizona.