Ancient Ethics by Susan Suave Meyer

By Susan Suave Meyer

This is often the 1st complete consultant and simply sizeable undergraduate point advent to historic Greek ethics, masking the moral theories of all of the significant philosophers (including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and faculties (Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans, Pyrrhonism) from the earliest instances to the Hellenistic philosophers examining their major arguments and assessing their legacy.

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Depend. These ‘first principles’ are the forms. Having grasped them, one then understands and has knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, and all the other sciences that one previously understood only ‘on a hypothesis’. The same goes for ethical truths. Dialectic aims at grasping the bases of the norms that paideia has inculcated into one’s ethical sensibility (538c). 97 Inquiry into the grounds of ethical claims, Socrates says in the Republic, is dangerous if engaged in at too young an age (Rep. 539a–c; cf.

He then quickly concedes, when pressed by Socrates, that neither kind of behaviour is always temperate (159b–161a). Charmides at this point defers to his uncle Critias, who supplies in sequence a number of proposals: that temperance is minding one’s own business (161b);52 that it is doing good things (163e); and that it is doing good things as a result of knowledge (164a–d). g. 174b). Nonetheless, even if Critias were able to solve the puzzles, this would not show that he has the knowledge of how to act temperately.

As the Athenian says in the Laws, ‘We are pleased when we think we are doing well (eu prattein), and when we are pleased we think we are doing well’ (Laws 657c5–6; my translation). On the view that emerges across Plato’s dialogues, knowing (or even believing) that something is good requires that one desire or take pleasure in it. 92 There is no such thing, on this view, as knowingly doing wrong. We all want the good (Rep. 505e, Meno 78b). That is, whenever we do something, we do it for the sake of the good (Gorg.

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