M. Ross Romero S.J.
Erica A. Holberg
Aristotle repeatedly qualifies the pleasure of courageous actions relative to other kinds of virtuous actions. This article argues that the pleasure of courageous actions is qualified because virtuous activity and its pleasure is dependent upon external conditions, and the external conditions of courageous actions are particularly constraining. The article shows that Curzer’s explanation of the qualified pleasure of courageous actions by the presence of pain violates Aristotle’s commitment to virtuous actions as being pleasant by their nature.
In Politics 2.2-5 Aristotle criticises the state described in Plato’s Republic. The general consensus in the secondary literature (in particular after E. Bornemann) is that Aristotle’s critique is unfair and too narrow in scope. Aristotle unjustifiably ignores significant parts of Plato’s Republic and unreasonably assumes that the community of wives, children and property extends to the whole of Kallipolis. Although R. Mayhew’s defence of Aristotle’s criticism has mitigated this negative assessment, the problem has remained unresolved. This paper questions the traditional view and suggests an explanation of Aristotle’s selective reading of Plato’s Republic. Based on what turns out to be a reasonable interpretation of Plato’s text, Aristotle does not extend Plato’s communism to the whole city, but rather reduces Plato’s city to the community of the guardians. As a result, Aristotle’s arguments in fact hit the mark and present Aristotle as a much fairer reader than is usually acknowledged.
Discussions of the liberty of the ancients, in contemporary political theory, treat democratic freedom, and the political equality on which democracy was premised, as anathema to the liberty of the moderns. This article discusses ancient democratic liberty by referencing the theory of arithmetic equality preserved by Aristotle and Plato and suggests that we need to re-investigate this relationship in the interests of modern freedom. The article argues that, in fact, Greek, particularly Athenian, democratic ideas, construe freedom in a negative way and that democratic, arithmetic, accounts of equality are, at root, anti-oppressive and require further investigation in the name of justice for the moderns.
Plato’s Clitophon presents a confrontation between two alternative views of justice, one conventional and the other philosophical – and of Clitophon’s inability to move from the one to the other due to his confusion over the relationship between knowledge and virtue and his misconception of the path from ignorance to knowledge, which probably results from his ambition. The nature of this confusion is such that Clitophon can only overcome it by abandoning his submissive stance toward the authority of Socrates (or any other teacher), which fact, combined with the character of his appeal to Socrates for an answer to his difficulties makes any authentic verbal response from Socrates unlikely to help and to risk harm. Silence from Socrates at the conclusion of the dialogue would therefore exemplify the principle that it is not for the just to harm anyone.