right action

one of richard mckeon’s article, character, the arts, and education, helped me in my attempt to clarify what we really mean by right action, or rational action, in a very precise way. i want to quote from him:

An action is right if it is well adapted to the circumstances, resources, needs, and purposes of the agent, that is, if it is well done; an action is right if it improves the circumstances, realizes the potentialities of available materials, orders needs, and develops the abilities and interests of the agent, that is, if the end achieved is good. All actions, even erratic and neurotic actions, are reasonable, since they have discoverable causes of which the agent is frequently explicitly conscious. An action is rational when it is well adjusted to the character of a person and his purposes under the circumstances; an action is rational when the reasons for the action and the values achieved by it have been examined and judged. Good skills and good habits may be badly used, but they have the rightness and rationality of actions well performed; and such actions are put to good uses when they conform to rules of reason and norms of rightness, which need not be reviewed in each action or by each agent.[Richard Mckeon, Character, the Arts and Disciplines]