November 3 2009
All philosophers are virtuous as long as you have your virtues organized in the right order.
Monism: a conflict between two beings, either one is right and one is wrong or BOTH are wrong.
Ethical vision and political vision for a monist is the same thing.
Pluralism: All beings have a share background on politics which is different than their ethics vision. Here
There are multiple answers to the same question. Political shared background shares all the
visions of those involved.
“Meta-blob” (coexisting states/ international law): Many people with different ideas on the good life
living in coexisting states. They all have the same background.
Plato Basic M/E schema
1. Experienced objects are unreal because their apparent positive qualities (A) also necessarily
imply negative qualities or absences (not- A)
2. This can only be resolved by recourse to transcendental type-token metaphysics and, hence, the
3. Immediate consequence: the world as experienced is not real; reality lies elsewhere. Thus
strong appearance/ reality distinction.
4. The resulting task: get to this (transcendent) Reality. Philosophy is the way! Indeed, it is the only
Problem 1: How?
Problem 2: How do we know when we get there?
Problem 3: How many Forms are there, and why?
Problem 4: What is a Form of the Good?
Problem 5: How, exactly, does the Form of the Good link all the other Forms?
Problem 6: Is this ultimate Reality really knowable?
Problem 7: And then what? (Cf. Philosopher’s Dilemma.) Aristotle Basic M/E Schema
1. Causality is not transcendental but observable (ef. Arguments against the Forms).
2. Causality is fourfold: material/ formal/ efficient/ final.
3. There is a First Cause, or Unmoved Mover, who started the chain of causality (otherwise and
infinite regress, or failure of reason).
4. The reality of things can be known through study of causality, especially final cause (telos).
5. That includes human life, in its ethical and political dimensions.
6. Flourishing means being virtuous, pursuing human ends through the cultivation and exercise of
7. So do that! Philosophy is the way insofar as contemplation (in leisure) is seen to suffuse action
(in politics), and vice versa, to make a just society.
Problem 1: Is the metaphysical biology accurate?
Problem 2: Is causality knowable in this fashion?
Problem 3: Is reality really this simple?
Lao Tzu Basic M/E Schema
1. The tao is orignary but not causal.
2. Existence does not exhaust the real.
3. The tao is unknowable; it is transcendent and mystical.
4. The tao is therefore best approached negatively; that is, via the ‘lower’ term in any comparative
relation. Of which the tao is the source.
5. Thus: the weak (not the strong); the low (not the high); the short (not the long); the down (not