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  1. John M. Armstrong (2009). Review of Frisbee C. C. Sheffield, Plato’s Symposium: The Ethics of Desire (Oxford University Press, 2006). [REVIEW] Ancient Philosophy 29 (1):208–212.
    The purpose of Sheffield’s careful study is to increase scholarly appreciation of the Symposium as a ‘substantive work in Platonic ethics’ (3). Among the book’s highlights are a persuasive response to Vlastos’ criticism of Plato on love for individuals, an eminently reasonable assessment of the evidence for and against the presence of tripartite psychology in the Symposium, and a delightful interpretation of Alcibiades’ speech at the dialogue’s end—one that reveals elements of satyr play and corroborates rather than undermines Diotima’s account (...)
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  2. John M. Armstrong (2006). Review of Gabriel Richardson Lear, Happy Lives and the Highest Good: An Essay on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Princeton University Press, 2004). [REVIEW] Ancient Philosophy 26 (1):206–209.
    I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
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  3. John M. Armstrong (2004). After the Ascent: Plato on Becoming Like God. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 26:171-183.
    Plato is associated with the idea that the body holds us back from knowing ultimate reality and so we should try to distance ourselves from its influence. This sentiment appears is several of his dialogues including Theaetetus where the flight from the physical world is compared to becoming like God. In some major dialogues of Plato's later career such as Philebus and Laws, however, the idea of becoming like God takes a different turn. God is an intelligent force that tries (...)
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  4. John M. Armstrong (2001). Review of Stephen Everson, Ed., Ethics, Companions to Ancient Thought 4 (Cambridge University Press, 1998). [REVIEW] Ancient Philosophy 21 (1):237–245.
    I review this fine collection of articles on ancient ethics ranging from the Presocratics to Sextus Empiricus. Eight of the nine chapters are published here for the first time. Contributors include Charles H. Kahn on "Pre-Platonic Ethics," C. C. W. Taylor on "Platonic Ethics," Stephen Everson on "Aristotle on Nature and Value," John McDowell on "Some Issues in Aristotle's Moral Psychology," David Sedley on "The Inferential Foundations of Epicurean Ethics," T. H. Irwin on "Socratic Paradox and Stoic Theory," Julia Annas (...)
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  5. John M. Armstrong (1997). Epicurean Justice. Phronesis 42 (3):324-334.
    Epicurus is one of the first social contract theorists, holding that justice is an agreement neither to harm nor be harmed. He also says that living justly is necessary and sufficient for living pleasantly, which is the Epicurean goal. Some say that there are two accounts of justice in Epicurus -- one as a personal virtue, the other as a virtue of institutions. I argue that the personal virtue derives from compliance with just social institutions, and so we need to (...)
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