Single Idea 8002

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / j. Ethics by convention]

Full Idea

The sophist tradition failed to distinguish the difference between the concept of a man who stands outside and is able to question the conventions of some one given social order, and the concept of a man who stands outside social life as such.

Gist of Idea

Sophists don't distinguish a person outside one social order from someone outside all order


Alasdair MacIntyre (A Short History of Ethics [1967], Ch. 3)

Book Reference

MacIntyre,Alasdair: 'A Short History of Ethics' [Routledge 1967], p.18

A Reaction

A very nice distinction. Compare foreigners in Athens with Diogenes of Sinope, who renounced all cities. This is the germ of MacIntyre's view that morality is essentially dependent on some sort of social order. He is a reviver of virtue theory.