The article suggests that the position ascribed to thrasymachus in book i of plato's "republic" may be confused but need not be self-contradictory. A formal argument is constructed that derives his conclusion from premisses based on things he says, though not always in the language he uses. It is not suggested that plato ascribes this argument to thrasymachus, but only that it is consistent and intelligible in itself and compatible with what thrasymachus does say.
The paper demonstrates a fifteen-point structural correspondence between plato's "republic" and aristotle's "nicomachean ethics". The more interesting points of correspondence are discussed, as are the three passages in each work that have no analogue in the other, and that are not explained by aristotle's dealing with politics in a different work. Possible explanations of this detailed correspondence are considered.
I once characterized philosophy as 'deliberative discourse about meanings.' The point was, first, that in philosophy one is concerned to decide not what is the case but what and how one is to think; and second, that differences in philosophical approach and practice can best be construed in terms of disagreements about what can be said to be meaningful and about what it is to have meaning.
People engaged in teaching and research in philosophy departments are under strong and constant -pressure to believe that what they are doing makes sense. Their belief may well be rooted in an initial project, formed autonomously under the guidance of teachers and fellow students; even so, it will continue to be shaped and confirmed by the requirements of peer approval and student satisfaction. The hungry sheep keep looking up. Sheer humanity requires us to show enthusiasm for what we dispense as (...) nutrition, and a convincing display of conviction requires that we start by convincing ourselves. But in retirement all this falls apart. Often, perhaps usually, an element of belief and devotion is maintained, because the formed ego of the retiree is that of self-as-teacher or self-as-philosopher. But if, as may well be, the retiree's philosophizing was undertaken merely as gainful employment, things rapidly come to pieces. In these circumstances, a request for a paper on metaethics or any other loosely defined topic may bewilder. What, really, could be at issue here? Or so it seems. But there is something factitious in this bewilderment. (shrink)