Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy: Supplementary Volume by Julia Annas, Robert H. Grimm

By Julia Annas, Robert H. Grimm

This unique supplementary quantity comprises the complaints of the Colloquium on historic Philosophy held at Oberlin university in 1986. The contributors--including Michael Frede, Jonathan Barnes, Martha C. Nussbaum, Robert G. Turnbull, Gail high quality, Alan Code, T.H. Irwin, A.A. lengthy, and David Charles--address being, turning into, and intelligibility in Plato; disunity within the Aristotelian virtues; Epicurean indicators; and Aristotle on political distribution.

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Extra resources for Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy: Supplementary Volume 1988 (Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy)

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Even if we think that Aristotle’s methodological remarks about dialectics apply only to ethics (as I deny) it is an open question whether his method is constant across the EE and EN. For the distinction between what is ‘better known to us’ and what is ‘better known by nature’ or ‘unqualifiedly’, see APo. 71b33–72a5; Physics 184a16–23; Metaph. 1029b3–12; EN 1095b2–4. What is better known or familiar to us (ta gnôrima hêmin) are the appearances or beliefs that form the starting point (archê) of enquiry.

First, he thinks the method of the Analytics allows for dialectical reasoning in attempting to arrive at scientific definitions. 1. In the final chapter in Part II, ‘Holding for the most part: the demonstrability of moral facts’, Devin Henry turns our attention from enquiry to explanation: Does Aristotle think there could be a science of ethics whose goals include, among other things, generating scientific explanations of matters of conduct? According to the Posterior Analytics explanations in science take the form of demonstrations so that we can be said to know a thing in the scientific sense only when we grasp its corresponding demonstration.

Natural phenomena hold only for the most part, and yet Aristotle thinks that they are capable of demonstration. Therefore (extrapolating to ethics) the fact that moral phenomena hold only for the most part should not disqualify them as candidates for demonstration. This is supposed to put a science of ethics back on the table. However, as Henry points out, this argument from analogy depends on the assumption that all things hold for the most part in the same way. Yet a survey of the works on natural science shows that the extension of Aristotle’s concept of hôs epi to polu includes at least three different kinds of phenomena.

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