Philippa Foot's theory of Natural Goodness provides a theoretical ethical framework that encompasses Aristotelian notions of flourishing and practical rationality. Foot's text provides a clear path to self-fulfillment, and her argument suggests that for a human being to flourish, they must experience happiness, actively enjoy good things, encompass human goodness, and exercise practical rationality. This thesis aims to evolve Foot's project of Natural Goodness from a theoretical model into a configuration that may be applied to everyday practical living.
This project begins by detailing Philippa Foot's theory, walking through each step of the argument Foot provides in support for her ethical framework. Following, the merits of the theory are compared to other renowned ethical theories, and the intuitive nature of Natural Goodness is highlighted. It is argued that although Foot's ethical framework is praiseworthy, the theory is too open-ended in its discussion of happiness for individuals lacking human goodness to confidently apply the account in a practical setting. Due to this, I explore Foot's notion of happiness, defined as the enjoyment of good things, and I focus on the subjective aspect of enjoyment. By applying research from the field of positive psychology, the definition becomes guided into a more practical form, allowing for Foot's framework of Natural Goodness to become an applicable theory within contemporary society. Once this is achieved, and interrogatories are answered, I delve into ramifications of this new framework, and ways that individuals may increase the quality of their own lives.