Particulars in Greek Philosophy: The Seventh S.V. Keeling by Robert Sharples

By Robert Sharples

Historic Greek philosophy has been criticised, for instance through the overdue Bernard Williams, for emphasising the common on the cost of the actual. Six prime students think about what the Greeks themselves, from Plato to the interval of the Roman Empire, needed to say in this factor within the contexts of ethics, psychology, metaphysics and cosmology. historic perspectives are in comparison with sleek ones, and the effect of the previous at the latter is taken into account.

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Since the cosmic logos is all-pervasive in its deterministic rationality, whatever happens happens for a reason which contributes to the divine plan. There are no exceptions to this prudential causality, but no human being, Sage or fool, is privy to anything like that plan in its entirety. From behind our veil of ignorance, it is epistemically possible that the logos holds many surprises in store for us: which is to say that we cannot be antecedently confident that events will unroll with any given degree of predictability.

Equity comes into play (and it does so clearly under the guise of indulgence) when it is a matter of knowing how to resolve cases of suspension of a rule. But it is distinct from the higher-order rule which governs its coming into play; this higher-order rule can close the door to indulgence as well as open it’ (Brunschwig a, –). 37 Rhetoric I  enunciates a definition of equity which complements the fundamental rule of the Nicomachean Ethics: equity ‘has regard for the lawgiver rather than the law, and for the lawgiver’s thought rather than his expression’ (κα τ μ πρ ς τ ν ν μον λλ πρ ς τ ν νομο την, κα μ πρ ς τ ν λ γον λλ πρ ς τ ν δι νοιαν το νομο του σκοπε ν (b–)).

Ii) But even goods contain such variation, on account of many people deriving injuries from them: for indeed some people have perished on account of money, others on account of bravery. ’44 Though much referred to, this, Aristotle’s canonical statement of the inexactitude of ethical and political theorising, 42 This is not, of course, to deny that generalisations are the stuff of ethical theory; and Aristotle does believe that the study of true theoretical generalisations—viz those set forth in his own philosophy—can make the already good better.

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