1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Summum Bonum
|←Summons||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26
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SUMMUM BONUM (Lat. for “highest good”), in ethics, the ideal of human attainment. The significance of the term depends upon the character of the ethical system in which it occurs. It may be viewed as a perfect moral state: as pleasure or happiness (see Hedonism; Eudaemonism); as physical perfection; as wealth, and so forth. If, however, we abandon intuitional ethics, it is reasonable to argue that the term summum bonum ceases to have any real significance inasmuch as actions are not intrinsically good or bad, while the complete sceptic strives after no systematic ideal.