6 research outputs found

    Is Human Virtue a Civic Virtue? A Reading of Aristotle's Politics 3.4

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    Is the virtue of the good citizen the same as the virtue of the good man? Aristotle addresses this in Politics 3.4. His answer is twofold. On the one hand, (the account for Difference) they are not the same both because what the citizen’s virtue is depends on the constitution, on what preserves it, and on the role the citizen plays in it, and because the good citizens in the best constitution cannot all be good men, whereas the good man’s virtue is uniform. On the other hand, (the account for Identity) the two virtues are identical in the good men in the best constitution, in which all are good citizens, each possessing the ability for ruling and for being ruled. This nuanced answer can be seen as Aristotle’s synthesis of a Periclean view (contribution to state blots out personal wrongs) and a Socratic view (no good citizen is without justice). Its nuances reflect the extent to which Aristotle’s conceptions of good citizenship and the best constitution accommodate deviations of what is probable from the human ideal set out in his ethical writings. In the present chapter, I will first address three puzzles regarding the nuances of Aristotle’s answer. Second, I will consider one question about its implication: Does Aristotle’s account for Difference turn out to entail something ultra-Periclean: that no one can simultaneously be a good man and a good citizen in any constitution other than the best? I shall argue the negative

    Ethical Advance and Ethical Risk - A Mengzian Reflection

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    On one view of ethical development, someone not yet virtuous can reliably progress by engaging in what meaningfully resembles virtuous conduct. However, if the well-intended conduct is psychologically demanding, one's character, precisely because one is not yet virtuous, may worsen rather than improve. This risk of degradation casts doubt on the developmental view. I counter the doubt through one interpretation and one application of the Mengzi. In passage 2A2, invoking the image of a farmer who “helped” the crop grow by pulling the sprouts, MENG Ke cautions, “do not help it grow.” I defend a novel interpretation: do not advance with a naïve negligence about your psycho-physiological constitution. I also show how to advance with realistic care by pointing out an overlooked application of a much-discussed cultivation technique illustrated in Mengzi 1A7: ethical reflection can conciliate one with one’s ongoing or past advanced action, lowering the action’s risk of degradation
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