Levels of Argument: A Comparative Study of Platos Republic and Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics

Hardcover | April 5, 2015

byDominic Scott

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In Levels of Argument, Dominic Scott compares the Republic and Nicomachean Ethics from a methodological perspective. In the first half he argues that the Republic distinguishes between two levels of argument in the defence of justice, the "longer" and "shorter" routes. The longer is the idealand aims at maximum precision, requiring knowledge of the Forms and a definition of the Good. The shorter route is less precise, employing hypotheses, analogies and empirical observation. This is the route that Socrates actually follows in the Republic, because it is appropriate to the level of hisaudience and can stand on its own feet as a plausible defence of justice. In the second half of the book, Scott turns to the Nicomachean Ethics. Scott argues that, even though Aristotle rejects a universal Form of the Good, he implicitly recognises the existence of longer and shorter routes, analogous to those distinguished in the Republic. The longer route would requirea comprehensive theoretical worldview, incorporating elements from Aristotle's metaphysics, physics, psychology, and biology. But Aristotle steers his audience away from such an approach as being a distraction from the essentially practical goals of political science. Unnecessary for gooddecision-making, it is not even an ideal. In sum, Platonic and Aristotelian methodologies both converge and diverge. Both distinguish analogously similar levels of argument, and it is the shorter route that both philosophers actually follow - Plato because he thinks it will have to suffice,Aristotle because he thinks that there is no need to go beyond it.

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In Levels of Argument, Dominic Scott compares the Republic and Nicomachean Ethics from a methodological perspective. In the first half he argues that the Republic distinguishes between two levels of argument in the defence of justice, the "longer" and "shorter" routes. The longer is the idealand aims at maximum precision, requiring kno...

Dominic Scott was awarded a PhD in Classics from the University of Cambridge in 1988 and taught there in the Faculty of Philosophy and Clare College until 2007. Since then has been at the University of Virginia, and has now returned to the UK, teaching ethics and politics at the University of Kent. He has also held visiting positions a...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.81 inPublished:April 5, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199249644

ISBN - 13:9780199249640

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart One1. The shorter route in Republic II-IV2. The adequacy of the shorter route3. The longer route4. The role of metaphysics in Republic VIII-IX5. The cave allegory and the structure of the RepublicPart Two6. Political science and the longer route7. The limits of precision8. Explanation in NE I 4 and 79. Aristotle and the race course10. The 'endoxic method'ConclusionBibliography