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The Nature of Goodness

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Language: English
Wordcount: 43,590 / 131 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 72
LoC Category: B
Downloads: 1,109
mnybks.net#: 5427
Genre: Philosophy
Excerpt

those who ask it have a special respect in mind. I believe they mean, "Will the man meet his notes?" In their mode of thinking a merchant is of consequence only in financial life. When they have learned whether he is capable of performing his functions there, they go no farther. He may be the most vicious of men or a veritable saint. It will make no difference in inducing commercial associates to call him good. For them the word indicates solely responsibility for business paper.

A usage more curious still occurs in the nursery. There when the question is asked, "Has the baby been good?" one discovers by degrees that the anxious mother wishes to know if it has been crying or quiet. This elementary life has as yet not acquired positive standards of measurement. It must be reckoned in negative terms, failure to disturb. Heaven knows it does not always attain to this. But it is its utmost virtue, quietude.

In short, whenever we inspect the usage of the word good, we always find behind it an implication of

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