Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Aristotle, Allan Gibbard and Deborah Achtenberg

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4 ideas

23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism
Self-interest is a relative good, but nobility an absolute good [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: One's own interest is a relative good, nobility a good absolutely.
     From: Aristotle (The Art of Rhetoric [c.350 BCE], 1389b)
     A reaction: The key idea in the whole of Greek moral theory is the concept of what we can call a 'beautiful' action. Such things, or course, tend to be visible in great actions, such as sparing an enemy, rather than the minutiae of well-mannered daily life.
Nobody would choose all the good things in world, if the price was loss of identity [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Nobody would choose to have all the good things in the world at the price of becoming somebody else.
     From: Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1166a23)
     A reaction: This now looks like a particularly good objection to utilitarianism, which aims to promote pleasure, no matter what the cost.
A man is his own best friend; therefore he ought to love himself best [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: A man is his own best friend; therefore he ought to love himself best.
     From: Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1168b09)
     A reaction: Both halves of this sound odd. Being your own best friend has all the oddness of self-identity. Maybe this sort of self-love should be resisted. Altruistic people are lovely.
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 2. Hedonism
Licentiousness concerns the animal-like pleasures of touch and taste [Aristotle]
     Full Idea: Licentiousness is concerned with such pleasures as are shared with animals (hence thought low and brutish). These are touch and taste.
     From: Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1118a25)
     A reaction: Nietzsche is the best opponent of this view, when elevates purely physical pleasures such as dancing to a supreme status. It must be possible to give a justified account of 'high' and 'low' activities, perhaps related to increased generality + universals.