In the west, and particularly in the Puritan tradition, goodness has sometimes been conceived in exclusively moral terms, and the special goods of understanding and taste dismissed as inconsequential.
The main thrust of Santayana's criticism was that "good" cannot be totally independent of human interests and feelings; and that propositions about intrinsic goodness—if they can be called propositions at all—cannot be true or false in a manner in which propositions in physical sciences are, because they are not statements about certain objective state of affairs but are only expressions of "preferences we feel.
Therefore, his analysis of ethical terms is more appropriately described as optative than, for example, emotive Ayer, Stevenson or prescriptive Hare. We have seen that though it is one of the commonest words in the language, analysts are deeply divided about its import.
It is also what makes anything good.
The second error is to infer that because the good must satisfy, its goodness varies with satisfaction or pleasure alone. Instinct, as McDougall insists, is a tendency to notice and feel as well as to act, and it invests some things with an aura of attractiveness that never has to be learned.
What we want is not only to know, but to understand, that is, lay hold of the connections among facts that make them intelligible. The notion that some super-cat might have the one without the other and hence find the experience worthless is thus not strictly thinkable.
To be sure, the inference is not a compelling one. Disputants can only appeal to their own emotions, and employ rhetorical devices to rouse similar emotions in others. And yet one can hardly deny that there is an aesthetic impulse with its own special end, distinct from the cognitive.
The music and the appreciation of it are so blended that B would probably say that A could not have heard what he did without being stirred. Second, Russell's optative analysis of ethical terms applies mainly to "good" as an endwhich Russell regarded as the most fundamental ethical term.
We know that in this period he talked of spiritual matters in a futile effort to find common ground with his lover, Ottoline Morrell.