This is for my friends here, who wonder how it is that I can claim that Plato and Aristotle are not as diametrically opposed as the dominant narrative about them claims. The following is an extended snippet from Plato and Aristotle in Agreement? Platonists on Aristotle from Antiochus to Porphyry , by George E. Karamanolis. While the snippet isn’t a definitive refutation of their supposed opposition, it is the beginning of a sustained argument that claims to show just that.
Socrates’ story is famous enough. Melisas accused him of corrupting the young, and worshipping gods contrary to the state. The charges were false, and thus, the subsequent conviction was unjust on its face. Yet, Socrates, committed to his principles (ostensibly), went to his grave defending the judgment on the grounds that it was a greater injustice to disobey the law, and that no good man would trade an evil for an evil.
One frequent appeal by determinists in the free will debate, involves invoking certain facts about neuroscience to deny efficacy to the conscious subject. In order to do this, one of the things the determinist must say, is that sense impulses are somehow processed unconsciously into a coherent whole, before they are presented to the ‘conscious’ subject as an ‘experience’, and that this processing (along with pre-conscious processing of decision-making activity), shows that we are entirely causally determined.
It has become a commonplace habit in contemporary quasi-philosophical circles, to roll one’s eyes and snicker, or to sneer and sniff, whenever the mention of Plato’s Forms happens to sour the air. It seems to be taken for granted these days, that the Forms “just aren’t done” anymore, that somehow they’ve been shown to be disreputable or false, and that no one need any longer to take the idea seriously (least of all, professional philosophers).
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ ~Isaiah 46:10 In The Republic, Socrates repeatedly insists that truth will be the highest value of his utopian society. To accomplish this, he argues that the myths of Homer and Hesiod should be hewn down to only those stories that are in accordance with what we know to be true, by proper philosophic study and dialectic argumentation.
Moral maxims are rules governing actions, or commands to act in certain ways considered morally correct. Some of the most well known maxims are those that come to us by way of religious tradition. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” are paradigm examples. Kant insists that his Categorical Imperative is the best means by which to test the maxims, for whether they correctly guide us to right action and away from wrong action.
Hume infers from his insight that it is not reason but moral opinion that moves us to act, that reason is not the source of moral opinion. From this, he then further argues that moral opinion is a product of the passions – special emotions that arise out of the relations of ideas and impressions. In this essay, I will argue that Hume’s initial inference is correct, but that his subsequent inference is not.
The following quote is from a discussion of Plato’s dialogue “The Republic”, from this course on Coursera. The professor, a Dr. Meyer, is explaining the interactions early in the book between Glaucon, Adeimantus, Socrates, and Thrasymachus, wherein the group is debating the subject of whether it is more advantageous to be a just or an unjust man. Dr. Meyer, in this quote, is attempting to compare the vulgar egoism of Thrasymachus to Ayn Rand’s Virtue Of Selfishness, in a throw-away line clearly intended to virtue-signal, and intimidate younger students: