A commentary on Plato's Timaeus, by A.E. Taylor

By A.E. Taylor

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See also Schütrumpf (1991b), 490. 2 Description and Evaluation in social science It seems clear then that Aristotle approaches social reality from the internal viewpoint of ordinary citizens even though his readership is mainly composed of lawgivers and statesmen. But we would want to know more about the method of Aristotle's social science. Reference has been made to interest and well-being. How should we understand them? Are we to proceed on the assumption of the agent's own idea of interest or well-being?

Civic virtue as such is a craft, in that having thought through what this craft demands, it still makes sense to ask whether we should exercise it. It may well be the case that, from the limited or conditionally practical viewpoint of civic virtue, we ought to φ, and yet it may turn out that, from the (fully practical) viewpoint of practical wisdom, we ought not to φ. 4 1105 22–6. ’ 48 28 The Explanatory Power of Ethics in Aristotle's Theory of Politics and Law of the army of polis P, and P were involved in an unjust war, it would not be hard to see that, since X is virtuous, he will be reluctant to fulfil his duties as general in this case.

See also Hollis (1998), 116: ‘we are inclined to distinguish normative expectations from pukka moral obligations, since there are roles whose morality we would firmly deny. … It would be hard to quarrel with … [the claim that we cannot acquire a duty to murder someone just by taking a job as hit-man for the Mafia]. Yet this is what hit-men are engaged to do and, internally speaking, failure to perform lays them open to righteous anger and a bullet for dishonourable conduct. ’ Cf. Rawls (1999), 306–7, 354.

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