Read e-book online A short history of ethics : a history of moral philosophy PDF

By Alasdair C MacIntyre

ISBN-10: 0203131126

ISBN-13: 9780203131121

ISBN-10: 0415173973

ISBN-13: 9780415173971

ISBN-10: 0415173981

ISBN-13: 9780415173988

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Extra info for A short history of ethics : a history of moral philosophy from the Homeric Age to the twentieth century

Sample text

The belief which is not certainly true is that one man is better to stick to one job, that this form of the division of labor is under all possible circumstances the best form; the belief which is certainly false is that men are by nature divided up into men best suited for each of these functions. Of this belief it might just be noted that it is invoked most often by those who believe that people like themselves are well suited to rule, while others are not; and that it ignores the fact that most people have different capacities which do not exclude one another, let alone the fact that in existing societies most abilities of most people are unrealized.

In the Meno and the Phaedo a metaphysical background is being constructed, which in the Republic provides an essential part of a proposed solution to problems which are a restatement of those in the Gorgias. In the dialogues after the Republic there is a sustained critique of the metaphysics, but there are also two substantial afterthoughts on the problems of ethics, the Philebus, on pleasure, and the Laws. The Gorgias falls into three sections, in each of which Socrates has a different interlocutor, and each of which establishes certain positions once and for all before passing on.

By dialectic Plato understands a process of rational argument which is a development from the dialogue of the Socratic interrogation. Beginning from some proposition which has been advanced for consideration, one ascends in one’s search for justifications up a deductive ladder until one reaches the indubitable certainties of the Forms. What Plato presents in the Republic is a progress in Plato: the republic 29 rational argument, culminating in a vision of the Form of the Good (that is, in a vision of what the predicate good stands for–that in virtue of which it has meaning).

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A short history of ethics : a history of moral philosophy from the Homeric Age to the twentieth century by Alasdair C MacIntyre


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