Aristotle's De Anima is the first systematic philosophical account of the soul, which serves to explain the functioning of all mortal living things. In his commentary, Ronald Polansky argues that the work is far more structured and systematic than previously supposed. He contends that Aristotle seeks a comprehensive understanding of the soul and its faculties. By closely tracing the unfolding of the many-layered argumentation and the way Aristotle fits his inquiry meticulously within his scheme of the sciences, Polansky answers questions (...) relating to the general definition of soul and the treatment of each of the soul's principal capacities: nutrition, sense perception, phantasia, intellect, and locomotion. The commentary sheds light on every section of the De Anima and the work as a unit. It offers a challenge to earlier and current interpretations of the relevance and meaning of Aristotle's highly influential treatise. (shrink)
The Theaetetus provides Plato's fullest discussion of human knowledge and is a rich vehicle for reflection upon its topic. Polansky's commentary demonstrates that the dialogue in fact holds the complete Platonic account of knowledge -- an account which is as sophisticated as any offered by contemporary philosophers.
Discourse on Method part 3 offers une morale par provision, usually translated as ‘a provisional moral code’. Occasionally it has been questioned that this code is temporary and restricted to those engaged in pure inquiry. We argue that Descartes intends the moral code to be his final ethical position universally applicable. Since the moral code is ‘derived from’ the rules of method, it should have their permanence, holding for the time pure inquiry commences and when it completes the sciences. Moreover, (...) the four moral maxims replace the classical cardinal virtues. Thus they are meant to govern the lives of all persons. (shrink)
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is the first and arguably most important treatise on ethics in Western philosophy. It remains to this day a compelling reflection on the best sort of human life and continues to inspire contemporary thought and debate. This Cambridge Companion includes twenty essays by leading scholars of Aristotle and ancient philosophy that cover the major issues of this text. The essays in this volume shed light on Aristotle's rigorous and challenging thinking on questions such as: can there be (...) a practical science of ethics? What is happiness? Are we responsible for our character? How does moral virtue relate to good thinking? Can we act against our reasoned choice? What is friendship? Is the contemplative life the highest kind of life? Covering all sections of the Nicomachean Ethics and selected topics in Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics and Protrepticus, this volume offers the reader a solid foundation in Aristotle's ethical philosophy. (shrink)
Principlism, a most prominent approach in bioethics, has been criticized for lacking an underlying moral theory. We propose that the four principles of principlism can be related to the four traditional cardinal virtues. These virtues appear prominently in Plato's Republic and in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. We show how this connection can be made. In this way principlism has its own compelling ethical basis.
: How might bioethics take account of cultural diversity? Can practical wisdom of an Aristotelian sort be applied across cultures? After showing that practical wisdom involves both intellectual cleverness and moral virtue, it is argued that both these components have universality. Hence practical wisdom must be universal as well. Hellenic ethical thought neither depended on outdated theoretical notions nor limited itself to the Greek world, but was in fact developed with constant awareness of cultural differences, so it arguably works as (...) well in other times and places as when formulated. Even the eudaemonistic setting for practical wisdom is unproblematic. (shrink)
_Reading Aristotle: Argument and Exposition_ demonstrates that Aristotle’s treatises rely crucially on expository principles—questions of proper sequence, pedagogical method, and distinctions between different sciences.
This work upholds the leading role of virtue in the happy life against competition from goods of fortune, such as health, beauty, wealth, and honor. "Sovereign" in the title--a translation of kurios--may mean two things: complete and dominant. White holds that complete virtue, and more especially the activity in accordance with it, is dominant in Aristotle's version of the happy life.