Russian Studies in Philosophy 26 (1):53-65 (1987)
The interpretation of the theoretical content of the ethics of Democritus, as well as of its place in the history of ethical thought, encounters a special difficulty. Democritus' ethics, which has come down to us in fragments, the authenticity of which is still a matter of debate, is full of evident contradictions. It contains mutually exclusive judgments on questions which were the principal subject matter of the intellectual polemics in ethics in the fifth century B.C. On the one hand, Democritus put forth a rather definite naturalistic-individualistic thesis: "Pleasure and displeasure form the boundary between what is useful and what is harmful." On the other hand, he intellectualizes moral motives and states his belief in the existence of general ethical determinations: "There is one and the same good and one and the same truth for all people, whereas one thing is agreeable to one person, another thing to another." Democritus is just as contradictory on the question of the moral value of the state. We find in him an unambiguous affirmation equating a moral individual with the citizen of a city state: "The interests of the state should be above everything else, and we must see to it that it is well governed. To assist in this, we must not struggle against justice and use force for our own benefit against the general good. For a well-governed state is a mighty bastion: it encompasses all, and as long as it persists, everything is as one, but if it should perish, all perishes with it." Yet at the same time a moral model of actions for him involves emancipation from laws: "He called laws a bad invention and said: "The wise man should not obey the laws, he live freely."
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Review of James Warren, Epicurus and Democritean Ethics: An Archaeology of Ataraxia. [REVIEW]Tim O'Keefe - 2003 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (5).
Democritus and Secondary Qualities.Robert Pasnau - 2007 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2):99-121.
The Ontological Status of Sensible Qualities for Democritus and Epicurus.Tim O'Keefe - 1997 - Ancient Philosophy 17 (1):119-134.
Epicurus and Democritean Ethics: An Archaeology of Ataraxia.James Warren - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Democritus.Author unknown - 2001 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
From Parmenides to Democritus W. K. C. Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. Ii: The Presocratic Tradition From Parmenides to Democritus. Pp. Xvii+554. Cambridge: University Press, 1965. Cloth, 75s. Net. [REVIEW]G. B. Kerferd - 1966 - The Classical Review 16 (03):365-368.
Democritus, Weight and Size: An Exercise in the Reconstruction of Early Greek Philosophy.Denis O'Brien - 1981 - Brill.
Democritus: Science, the Arts, and the Care of the Soul: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Democritus, Paris, 18-20 September 2003. [REVIEW]Aldo Brancacci & Pierre-Marie Morel (eds.) - 2007 - Brill.
Becoming Nietzsche: Early Reflections on Democritus, Schopenhauer, and Kant.Paul A. Swift - 2005 - Lexington Books.
A Lesniewskian Reading of Ancient Ontology: Parmenides to Democritus.Paul Thom - 1986 - History and Philosophy of Logic 7 (2):155-166.
Added to index2010-12-11
Total downloads10 ( #433,008 of 2,171,928 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #326,615 of 2,171,928 )
How can I increase my downloads?