By Georgios Anagnostopoulos
Philosophers as different as Socrates, Plato, Spinoza, and Rawls have occasionally argued that ethics may be an actual self-discipline whose propositions can fit the exactness we go along with arithmetic. but for Aristotle, wisdom of moral concerns is basically inexact, and his perceptive criticisms of the Socratic-Platonic excellent of moral wisdom and its metaphysical presuppositions stay of tolerating curiosity to modern ethical theorists. Georgios Anagnostopoulos deals the main systematic and entire serious exam thus far of Aristotle's perspectives at the exactness of ethics. Combining rigorous philosophical argument and shut research of the philosopher's treatises on human behavior, he supplies shape to Aristotle's trust that wisdom of concerns of behavior, now not in contrast to wisdom of such a lot common phenomena, can by no means be freed from definite varieties of inexactness. He concludes that in response to Aristotle, ethics constitutes a method of data that's neither completely nondemonstrative because of its inexactness nor freed from the $64000 epistemological problems universal to all nonmathematical disciplines.
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Extra resources for Aristotle on the Goals and Exactness of Ethics
What he says about the virtues in the city in Book IV is clearly much more elaborate and detailed than what he says about the virtues in the individual. Plato's discussion on the latter is quite general and very cursory; it barely touches upon the most generic and abstract features of the virtues. Plato's account of the structure of a just society, however, is the most detailed exposition of any topic given in the Republic . But are these accounts sufficient guides to individual conduct or adequate models for structuring a society?
Indeed, it is exclusively these Forms that Plato mentions in his discussion of the role of the Good in demonstration and of the nature of the dialectic. These Forms are as exact as any other Forms, and that of the Good is the most exact. The knowledge that is possible in the case of these Forms is also as exact as that of any other Forms; it is more exact than that of ordinary mathematics. Indeed, all disciplines whose domain is a subset of the realm of the Forms exhibit, according to Plato, the demonstrative rigor and purity he associates with dialectic, and their subject matter is characterized by the same kind of perfection and exactness.
Practice? This is by no means clear. For when Plato returns to this same theme in his discussion of the training of the guardians (539E), the role he appears to assign to experience is that of testing or strengthening the character of the guardians rather than in augmenting the knowledge they presumably have of the Forms. Indeed, Plato goes on to argue there that, after they have gone through the required experience, they shall turn to the Forms for the model to be used in ruling. 9 For after that you will have to send them down into the cave again, and compel them hold commands in war and the other offices suitable to youth, so that they may not short of the other type in experience either.