From Platonism to Pragmatism

Apeiron 35 (4):103-124 (2002)

Teases out from assumptions underlying Polybius's constitutional theory an otherwise unknown subjectivist, agent-relative utilitarian theory of well-being. In contrast to other ancient theories, other-concern is assumed to be rooted in nonrational human nature and without moral value. Moral concepts arise within a social community from rational reflection on personal experience and lead to socially constructed moral values and political institutions that promote cooperative over competitive behaviors. The assumptions meet Arcesilaus's skeptical objections to dogmatic ethics. Polybius, some of whose political associates studied under Arcesilaus, may have derived his theory from current antiskeptical justifications of normative ethics and politics
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DOI 10.1515/APEIRON.2002.35.4.103
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