Buckley defined Conservatism through the metaphor of a man standing on the train tracks of history, yelling ‘stop!’. Scruton defined Conservatism as the stewardship of the beautiful, in a particular way of life. The intuition expressed in both definitions is sound. For Conservatism to mean anything, then it must include the preservation or conservation of something important. Scruton is closer to that mark than Buckley is, because he’s closer to a fundamental principle than Buckley is.
The Categories is Aristotle’s first attempt to outline a theory of being, in addition to the work’s central focus, which is to provide an account of the ways in which we think about being, and beings. In total, there are ten categories of thought about being, but the core of his theory of being begins with the first category. This is what he called “substance”. This essay will summarise Aristotle’s conception of substance as he presents it in The Categories, briefly explain what distinguishes substance from the other categories, and offer some additional thoughts about the metaphysics of being, in relation to Aristotle’s mentor, Plato.
To recap and summarize, there are three different kinds of forms presented to us in the Parmenides, by Socrates: Relational: the subjective experience of qualities of things, relative to each other. For example, Bigness, Sameness, or Heaviness (and their oppositions: Smallness, Difference, or Lightness). Ontological: the model or exemplar of actual things. For example, Man, Animal, Fire, and Water (but, inexplicably, not things like sticks and stones and mud and sealing wax).
…after more than two thousand years the same discussions continue, philosophers are still ranged under the same contending banners, and neither thinkers nor mankind at large seem nearer to being unanimous on the subject, than when the youth Socrates listened to the old Protagoras, and asserted… the theory of utilitarianism against the popular morality of the so-called sophist… ~John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism I wonder, sometimes, if Mill had ever actually read the Protagoras.
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.