Single Idea 5158

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism]

Full Idea

When we are discussing actions, although general statements have a wider application, particular statements are closer to the truth. This is because actions are concerned with particular facts, and theories must be brought into harmony with these.

Gist of Idea

Actions concern particular cases, and rules must fit the cases, not the other way round


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1107a29)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.103

A Reaction

This implies criticism of Kant's whole theory, suggesting that there cannot be a universal law for most given situations. I take Aristotle's view to be (in modern terms) that a key virtue is sensitivity, taken as acute awareness of detail in a situation.