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

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But to this the rejoinder might be that his desires remain incompatible: for what the man desires is to drink this particular water and what he fears is to drink this same water. Yet Plato is only right in a sense about these being incompatible desires, and that they are does not have any of the consequences which he supposes to follow. And this is because the incompatibility belongs to the possibility of satisfying both desires, not of having both desires. This is important because Plato uses his bad argument to expound a distinction between that part of the soul which is the appetites and that part which is the reason, a distinction which exerts enormous pressure upon some subsequent moral philosophy.

For Callicles the supreme good is power to satisfy all desires. Callicles’ position is indeed a complex one. He is contemptuous of the life of theorizing and contemptuous therefore of Socrates. He is involved at once in two disagreements with Socrates. The first is over the concept of desire. Socrates argues that the man of boundless desires is like a leaky sieve, never filled, never satisfied; therefore, to have great and violent desires is to make it certain that you will not get what you want.

Appetite in the Phaedo belongs to the body, so that the distinction between reason and appetite remains a constant element, pointing to the continuity of the religious background. But the Phaedo offers us no grounds for believing in the division into parts of the soul. The division of the soul in the Republic is not just between reason and appetite; there is also the “spirited” part, which is concerned neither with rational standards of behavior nor with bodily desires, but with standards of honorable behavior, and with anger and indignation.

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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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