Plato's Ethics by Terence Irwin

By Terence Irwin

This unheard of ebook examines and explains Plato's solution to the normative query, "How ought we to live?" It discusses Plato's perception of the virtues; his perspectives in regards to the connection among the virtues and happiness; and the account of cause, wish, and motivation that underlies his arguments concerning the virtues. Plato's solution to the epistemological query, "How do we know the way we should live?" can also be mentioned. His perspectives on wisdom, trust, and inquiry, and his concept of varieties, are tested, insofar as they're correct to his moral view. Terence Irwin strains the improvement of Plato's ethical philosophy, from the Socratic dialogues to its fullest exposition within the Republic. Plato's Ethics discusses Plato's purposes for leaving behind or enhancing a few points of Socratic ethics, and for believing that he preserves Socrates' crucial insights. a short and selective dialogue of the Statesmen, Philebus, and Laws is incorporated. changing Irwin's prior Plato's ethical Theory (Oxford, 1977), this ebook offers a clearer and fuller account of the most questions and discusses a few contemporary controversies within the interpretation of Plato's ethics. It doesn't presuppose any wisdom of Greek or any wide wisdom of Plato.

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29 7. Plato's Attitude to Socrates 13 Further, when we consider the earlier dialogues, we ought to compare the stylistic evidence with the conclusions we might draw from Aristotle's remarks on Socrates. All the dialogues that, following Aristotle, we counted as Socratic fall into the first two chronological groups. 30 No non-Socratic dialogue falls into the first group; and the place of the Phaedo and Symposium close to the end of the second group fits Aristotle's criteria. To this extent, then, the Aristotelian and the stylistic: criteria tend to confirm each other.

At the end of the Charmides Socrates claims that, despite the apparent tendency of the argument, he does not believe that temperance is really useless; on the contrary, he thinks (oimai) that he has been a bad inquirer and that, in fact, temperance is useful, indeed that it is sufficient for happiness (Ch. 175e5-176al). In this case Socrates does not accept the ostensible conclusion of the elenchos, but he implies that we would have to accept it if it did not conflict with our firm convictions about temperance.

We violate the epistemological demand if we introduce one of the predicates whose instances are disputed ('just', 'fine,' and 'good', 7b6-d7). In rejecting an account that can be applied only by appeal to further judgments about what is just or fine or good, Socrates suggests (without formulating the demand) that terms whose application is undisputed in some instances but disputed in other 15. 24 We violate Socrates' metaphysical demand if we find some common feature of all pious actions, but this is in turn explained by some further feature.

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