In Nicomachean Ethics I 5, Aristotle discusses four sorts of lives, giving preferred attention to the lives devoted to gratification, politics, and philosophical contemplation, and dismissing the one devoted to making money. On his account, those who live these different sorts of lives pursue manifestly different goals, and their different goals shape different evaluations of all of their actions, reactions, relations, and possessions. Hence, Aristotle simultaneously engages the traditional inquiry into which sort of life is best and extracts from that (...) inquiry beliefs about what the goal of life (called eudaimonia)1 should be. He first rejects pleasure, the goal suggested by the life of gratification (that is, the "apolaustic" (épolaustikÒw) life), and then he disdains honor and virtue, either of which might be pursued by the political life. But Aristotle's inquiry pulls up short. He considers only static conceptions of eudaimonia (pleasure, honor, virtue), and he explicitly postpones a discussion of the goal suggested by the contemplative life. Not until Nicomachean Ethics X 6-8 does Aristotle repair these defects. At this point he argues against pleasant activity as the goal suggested by the apolaustic life, and he compares the activities central to the political life and the contemplative life. The delay is awkward in two ways. First, it makes difficult any attempt to relate the traditional inquiry on lives (in I 5 and X 6-8) to Aristotle's own long and complicated discussion.. (shrink)
Plutarch charges that Stoic theory is inconsistent with Stoic political engagement no matter what they decide to do, because the Stoics' endorsement of the political life is inconsistent with their cosmopolitan rejection of ordinary politics (Stoic.rep., ab init.). Drawing on evidence from Chrysippus and Seneca, I develop an argument that answers this charge, and I draw out two interesting implications of the argument. The first implication is for scholars of ancient Stoicism who like to say that Stoicism is apolitical. The (...) argument I reconstruct turns on the political importance of the practice of giving and taking advice, and in this way makes clear a philosophically significant way in which Stoic ethics is itself political. The second implication is for moral and political theorists who are quick to contrast cosmopolitanism with patriotic political engagement. My Chrysippean and Senecan argument shows how Stoics could envision local political engagement as an instantiation of cosmopolitan commitments. (shrink)
Apathy is the best-known feature of Stoicism; even Webster's records that a Stoic lives without passions.1 But it remains unclear what Stoic apathy amounts to, because it remains unclear what Stoics understand by passions and why they find passions problematic. In this essay, I start with four unsettled questions about the Stoic definition of passions, and to answer these questions, I explain the passions as central elements of Stoic psychopathology, that is, as defects relative to the Stoic account of the (...) psychological norm. This hypothesis, I claim, clarifies what the evidence by itself leaves uncertain. I close by bringing my conclusions to bear on the scope of Stoic apathy. Throughout, I focus on the account of the passions offered by the greatest Greek Stoic, Chrysippus of Soli, who headed the school in the third.. (shrink)
When Socrates was asked to which [country] he belonged, he would say, 'To the world,' for he thought that he was an inhabitant and citizen of the whole world."2 So we are told by those philosophers in later antiquity who liked to see themselves as the heirs of Socrates and as cosmopolitans.
In the Euthydemus, Socrates and young Cleinias agree, "Not one of the other things is good or bad, but of these two, one—wisdom—is good, and the other—ignorance—is bad" (281e3-5).1 To some, this is the outrageous and characteristically Stoic claim that wisdom is the only good.
In Book One of the Nicomachean Ethics (EN),1 Aristotle seeks to identify the human good, which he also calls eudaimonia2 or happiness (I 4, 1095a14-20) and which he explains as that for the sake of which one should do everything one does (I 7, 1097a22-24 and 1097a25- b21). After introducing the idea (in chapters one through three) and surveying some received accounts of it (in chapters four through six), he seems to give his definition in the seventh chapter, where he (...) appeals to the human function and concludes that "the human good is activity of the [rational] soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are multiple virtues, in accordance with the best and most complete virtue" (I 7, 1098a16-18).3 This account is sketchy, as Aristotle admits (I 7, 1098a20-22): he needs to say what virtuous activity is, how many virtues there are, and whether some one virtue is best and most complete. But the account has enough content to suit Aristotle's initial purposes (I 7, 1098a22-b8) and to court interpretive controversy. Perhaps the most obvious controversy is this: Does Aristotle really mean that the human good is just virtuous rational activity? Are health and wealth, not to mention friends and lovers, not part of the goal for the sake of which one should do everything one does? Many readers think that Aristotle does not intend such a narrow account. Some point to what he says about happiness before he comes to the human function argument, or to what he says about the good.. (shrink)
This is part two of a complete exposition of Logic, in which there is a radically new synthesis of Aristotelian-Scholastic Logic with modern Logic. Part II is the presentation of the theory of propositions. Simple, composite, atomic, compound, modal, and tensed propositions are all examined. Valid consequences and propositional logical identities are rigorously proven. Modal logic is rigorously defined and proven. This is the first work of Logic known to unite Aristotelian logic and modern logic using scholastic logic as the (...) instrument. (shrink)
I reject the traditional picture of philosophical withdrawal in the Hellenistic Age by showing how both Epicureans and Stoics oppose, in different ways, the Platonic and Aristotelian assumption that contemplative activity is the greatest good for a human being. Chrysippus the Stoic agrees with Plato and Aristotle that the greatest good for a human being is virtuous activity, but he denies that contemplation exercises virtue. Epicurus more thoroughly rejects the assumption that the greatest good for a human being is virtuous (...) activity. He maintains that the greatest good for a human being is the tranquility that virtuous activity always and contemplative activity sometimes brings about. (shrink)
Plato's Republic centers on a simple question: is it always better to be just than unjust? The puzzles in Book One prepare for this question, and Glaucon and Adeimantus make it explicit at the beginning of Book Two. To answer the question, Socrates takes a long way around, sketching an account of a good city on the grounds that a good city would be just and that defining justice as a virtue of a city would help to define justice as (...) a virtue of a human being. Socrates is finally close to answering the question after he characterizes justice as a personal virtue at the end of Book Four, but he is interrupted and challenged to defend some of the more controversial features of the good city he has sketched. In Books Five through Seven, he addresses this challenge, arguing (in effect) that the just city and the just human being as he has sketched them are in fact good and are in principle possible. After this long digression, Socrates in Books Eight and Nine finally delivers three "proofs" that it is always better to be just than unjust. Then, because Socrates wants not only to show that it is always better to be just but also to convince Glaucon and Adeimantus of this point, and because Socrates' proofs are opposed by the teachings of poets, he bolsters his case in Book Ten by indicting the poets' claims to represent the truth and by offering a new myth that is consonant with his proofs. (shrink)
Positioning Du Bois's arguments in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) within social theory enhances our understanding of the phenomenological dimensions of racial oppression and of how oppressed groups build on members' differences, as well as on what they share, to construct a cosmopolitan and richly textured community. Du Bois wrote Souls just at the beginning of the Great Migration but indicated that geographical dispersion would deepen racial solidarity, enhance the meaningfulness of community, and emancipate individual group members through participation (...) in mainstream society while maintaining their black identity. Du Bois's writings have powerful implications for understanding how to promote racial justice, and contemporary readers might consider that they have implications for social justice more generally. An analysis of black newspapers that were published during the period of 1900 to 1935 illustrates how Du Bois's conceptions were woven into discourse and everyday practices. (shrink)