"A complete and unified account of Plato's epistemology... scholarly, historically sensitive, and philosophically sophisticated. Above all it is sensible.... White's strength is that he places Plato's preoccupation in careful historical perspective, without belittling the intrinsic difficulties of the problems he tackled.... White's project is to find a continuous argument running through Plato's various attacks on epistemological problems. No summary can do justice to his remarkable success." --Ronald B. De Sousa, University of Toronto, in Phoenix.
A step by step, passage by passage analysis of the complete Republic. White shows how the argument of the book is articulated, the important interconnections among its elements, and the coherent and carefully developed train of though which motivates its complex philosophical reasoning. In his extensive introduction, White describes Plato's aims, introduces the argument, and discusses the major philosophical and ethical theories embodied in the Republic. He then summarizes each of its ten books and provides substantial explanatory and interpretive notes.
Community engagement is increasingly promoted as a marker of good, ethical practice in the context of international collaborative research in low-income countries. There is, however, no widely agreed definition of community engagement or of approaches adopted. Justifications given for its use also vary. Community engagement is, for example, variously seen to be of value in: the development of more effective and appropriate consent processes; improved understanding of the aims and forms of research; higher recruitment rates; the identification of important ethical (...) issues; the building of better relationships between the community and researchers; the obtaining of community permission to approach potential research participants; and, the provision of better health care. Despite these diverse and potentially competing claims made for the importance of community engagement, there is very little published evidence on effective models of engagement or their evaluation. (shrink)
BackgroundCommunity engagement is increasingly promoted as a marker of good, ethical practice in the context of international collaborative research in low-income countries. There is, however, no widely agreed definition of community engagement or of approaches adopted. Justifications given for its use also vary. Community engagement is, for example, variously seen to be of value in: the development of more effective and appropriate consent processes; improved understanding of the aims and forms of research; higher recruitment rates; the identification of important ethical (...) issues; the building of better relationships between the community and researchers; the obtaining of community permission to approach potential research participants; and, the provision of better health care. Despite these diverse and potentially competing claims made for the importance of community engagement, there is very little published evidence on effective models of engagement or their evaluation.MethodsIn this paper, drawing upon interviews with the members of a Community Advisory Board on the Thai-Myanmar border, we describe and critically reflect upon an approach to community engagement which was developed in the context of international collaborative research in the border region.Results and conclusionsDrawing on our analysis, we identify a number of considerations relevant to the development of an approach to evaluating community engagement in this complex research setting. The paper also identifies a range of important ways in which the Community Advisory Board is in practice understood by its members to have morally significant roles and responsibilities beyond those usually associated with the successful and appropriate conduct of research. (shrink)
White opposes the long-standing view that ancient Greek ethics is fundamentally different from modern ethical views. He examines the ways in which Greek ethics has been interpreted since the 18th century, and traces the history in Greek ethical thought of the idea of conflict among human aims, in particular the conflict between conformity to ethical standards and one's own happiness.
My account is subject to two important limitations. First, I shall be discussing whether or not Aristotle holds to an essentialistic doctrine with regard to sensible particulars, and shall neglect entirely his views about such things as species, genera, universals, and the like. Secondly, I shall be leaving out of account such chronologically late productions as Metaphysics VI-X and IV. Thus I shall be concentrating on the Categories, the Topics, the Physics, and the De Generatione et Corruptione. I am not (...) convinced that later works show substantial change over the works which I shall be discussing, but the later works do present severe exegetical difficulties which could not be adequately met within the scope of this essay. (shrink)
AS SOME PHILOSOPHERS KNOW, the paradox about inquiry at 80d-e of Plato’s Meno is more than a tedious sophism. Plato is one such philosopher. The puzzle is an obstacle to his project of discovering definitions, and is introduced as such. And it is met with an elaborate response: the theory of recollection, explicitly presented as an answer to the obstacle. But then what of the famous conversation in which Socrates coaxes a geometrical theorem from a slave boy Is the theory (...) not designed to explain the boy’s ability to respond to the coaxing? It is, certainly, but that is not its only purpose. The structure of the passage is this: the theory is there to disarm the paradox, and the conversation is there to support the theory. To see this structure is to understand a notorious and otherwise troubling fact, that Plato is so very quick to take the slave’s behavior—which he might have tried to explain in some other way-to be clear evidence for recollection. The reason why he so takes it is that the paradox has led him to think that only if recollection occurs is fruitful inquiry possible—and he is very anxious indeed to be assured that it is possible. He would not have been so enticed by explanations of the boy’s behavior which did not also seem to him to dispose of the puzzle. Here now is Plato’s setting of the paradox. (shrink)
This article examines happiness as an activity, modeled on pleasure in NE 10, 1-5. Aristotle is not proposing a choice, but defining the formal nature of happiness. Contemplation, as the activity of wisdom, constitutes happiness in the strict and formal sense. It has all the attributes of happiness, highest, most continuous, most pleasant, most self-sufficient, leisured, and an end in itself. Practical virtues are formally secondary, as including elements outside the activity of the best part and having leisure as their (...) end. Thus, amusements, practical activities and contemplation are integrated in the life of the sage, the contribution of each formally defined. (shrink)
In the historiography of Classical Greek ethics over the last two hundred years, and in the employment of Greek ideas by modern philosophers, one story has been standard. Greek ethics, it says, espouses a kind of eudaimonism that Ishall call harmonizing eudaimonism. This story seems to me quite wrong, but it is now so firmly rooted that scarcely anyone ever thinks of questioning it.
One of the most puzzling things about Stoicism has always been its position concerning the so-called “indifferents”. Let me summarize it. The Stoics seem to hold that all states of affairs other than virtue are indifferent as to goodness. At the same time they seem to think that virtue is partially constituted by a propensity to choose certain such indifferent states of affairs. For they maintain that the end, which they identify with virtue and the sole good, is “to live (...) in agreement with nature”, in a sense that is taken to involve selecting things that are in accord with nature, even though these things, it seems, are indifferent. They make two seemingly evaluative distinctions within the class of indifferents, one between things that are “preferred” and things that are “dispreferred”, and another between “appropriate acts” and others. All of this is well known and uncontroversial. (shrink)
In this brief history, philosopher Nicholas White reviews 2,500 years of philosophical thought about happiness. Addresses key questions such as: What is happiness? Should happiness play such a dominant role in our lives? How can we deal with conflicts between the various things that make us happy? Considers the ways in which major thinkers from antiquity to the modern day have treated happiness: from Plato’s notion of the harmony of the soul, through to Nietzsche’s championing of conflict over harmony. Relates (...) questions about happiness to ethics and to practical philosophy. (shrink)
Book VII describes a point at which Plato's future rulers have completed their philosophical education. At that point they have a complete grasp of evaluative concepts (esp. of good), in that they can articulate and defend defi nitions of them against all objections. Immediately, without further training, they are charged with applying these concepts in their city. By contrast, Aristotle's ethical and political writings do not envisage any such point. This difference between Plato and Aristotle is no expository accident, but (...) refl ects a fundamental disagreement between their respective views of the relationship between grasping and applying concepts, especially evaluative concepts. Aristotle's view is importantly similar to Wittgenstein's later view of 'how to go on' using a word 'in the same way'. This paper explores some aspects of this similarity between Aristotle's and Wittgenstein's opposition to platonism. (shrink)