Now in all these locutions the word conveys directly or indirectly the idea of desirability.The merely useful is desired for the end towards which it is employed; the end is desired on its own account.Whether Plato held that other ideas exist in God as in their proper dwelling-place is not quite clear.Aristotle so interpreted Plato ; and it is very likely that Aristotle was better qualified to understand Plato's meaning than were subsequent philosophers who have disputed his interpretation.Being and the good are, then, objectively the same, every being is good, every good is being.Our concepts, being and good differ formally: the first simply denotes existence ; the second, existence as a perfection, or the power of contributing to the perfection of a being.The series of means and ends either stretches out indefinitely, or it must terminate in some desired object or objects which are ends in themselves.Again we sometimes call a thing good because it possesses completely, or in a high degree, the perfections proper to its nature, as a good painting, good respiration.
Finally, we speak of good conduct, a good man, a good intention, and here the adjective has for us a sense different from any of the foregoing, unless indeed, we are utilitarian philosophers, to whom morally good is but another term for useful.
That is to say, it is good because it is an efficient means to obtain a desired result.
The result, in turn, may be desired for itself, or it may be sought as a means to some ulterior end.
This distinction which is clearly marked in French by the two different terms, bon and le bien , may be preserved in English by prefixing an article to the term when it is employed substantively.
We call a tool or instrument good, if it serves the purpose for which it is intended.