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Preface ...................................................................................... Introduction ...............................................................................
STEPHEN MENN .......................................................................................

vii xi

1 54

Menn Bibliography ..................................................................................
COLLOQUIUM 2 Wishing for Fortune, Choosing Activity: Aristotle on External Goods and Happiness
ERIC BROWN ............................................................................................


Commentary on Brown
GARY M. GURTLER, S. J. ......................................................................... 82 87

Brown/Gurtler Bibliography ..................................................................
COLLOQUIUM 3 Aristotle on
ALFREDO FERRARIN ................................................................................


Commentary on Ferrarin
KLAUS BRINKMANN ................................................................................ 113 122

Ferrarin/Brinkmann Bibliography .........................................................
COLLOQUIUM 4 Enchanting the Souls: On Plato’s Conception of Law and “Preambles”
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU .......................................................................

125 CONTENTS Commentary on Pradeau GAVIN T........................................................................... 213 232 Price/Clarke Bibliography .......................... About our Contributors .......... 178 186 O’Rourke/Patsioti-Tsacpounidi Bibliography ............................................. 235 Commentary on Johansen ARYEH KOSMAN................................... COLVERT ......... 277 284 287 291 Johansen/Kosman Bibliography ....................................................................... 191 Commentary on Price BRIDGET CLARKE ................................................................................... PRICE .............. W............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Index of Names .......... 138 154 Pradeau/Colvert Bibliography ............................... JOHANSEN ........................................ COLLOQUIUM 5 Aristotle and the Metaphysics of Metaphor FRAN O’ROURKE .................... .. COLLOQUIUM 6 Was Aristotle a Particularist? A............ 155 Commentary on O’Rourke IOANNA PATSIOTI-TSACPOUNIDI ............................... COLLOQUIUM 7 In Defense of Inner Sense: Aristotle on Perceiving That One Sees THOMAS K..............................................................................................................................................................

Here is what I wrote then in my Introduction: “While I acknowledge as an historical fact the diversity of traditions in philosophy and philosophical interpretation. Within the life of a person.” I continue to hold this view. I consider the exclusive dichotomy between ‘analyst’ and ‘pluralist’ to be a result of academic politics. Finally. It is akin to the difficulty of keeping a conversation going between the deaf and . it is more plausible to view it as old age. In any event. it is perhaps opportune for me to do some stock-taking after such a long involvement with these Proceedings of which I am the founding editor. while suggesting that we use the classical texts themselves as a basis for ongoing discussion. I have come to accept that it is almost impossible to sustain a dialogue between those who are engaged in professional competition for jobs and the control of scarce funding. reflecting a growing disillusionment with competing academic factions. Increasingly. I have occasionally talked about the personal significance of multiples of the number 7 for my involvement in this whole project. although I have become less sanguine over the years about the possibility of overcoming the institutional obstacles to dialogue. then one might regard the first seven volumes as reflecting youth and enthusiasm. In this regard. in some prefaces to previous volumes. CLEARY Regular readers of this series will probably expect me to remark on the significance of the fact that the BACAP Proceedings has now come of age with the publication of Volume 21 given that. marked by a growing awareness of the difficulties facing such an open dialogue.PREFACE JOHN J. in the life of a series like this. I entertained the possibility of an open dialogue between radically different traditions of interpretation within the field of ancient philosophy. Volumes 15 to 21 may be seen as a kind of old age. For instance. when the ambitions expressed in my Preface to Volume 1 were seen as achievable. If one adopts the age-old convention that 7 years constitutes a stage in life. Volumes 8 to 14 represent a coming of age for the series. so that many compromises became necessary to keep the conversation going between quite different styles of philosophical thinking. the age of 21 is generally seen as marking one’s coming of age but.

We are also proud to continue our tradition of including a significant number of European scholars. Brown University. p. (Princeton. historical. Some exemplary cases of such a multi-layered approach are Mitch Miller’s book on Plato’s Parmenides and. 1 Instead of an open and honest exchange of views. Most depressing of all. especially when they publish in languages other than English. and contextual approaches to reading Plato’s dialogues. unfortunately. especially for the reading of Platonic dialogues which cry out for many different approaches. 2 In this volume Stephen Menn makes a compelling case for the necessity of such literary. But as notable exceptions to such trends. who are driven by rivalry and ill-will. Kahn. Miller. Most of the colloquia conform to the typical structure of our Proceedings. Of course. Clark _________ 1 The breakdown in dialogue between different modern traditions in philosophy is nicely described by Charles Taylor. 1998). Charles Kahn’s work on the Platonic dialogue. in the Introduction to his book on Hegel and Modern Society (Cambridge. whose first language is not English. more generally. reflecting the parochialism of graduate schools and traditions of interpretation that have become quite insular in their outlooks. Plato’s Parmenides. so also an awareness of their dramatic and other literary features is essential for grasping the full philosophical import of these masterpieces. it lacks the usual commentary. Perhaps this reflects a contemporary trend towards new brands of scholasticism. The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form. 1979). The Conversion of the Soul. CLEARY the blind. Plato and the Socratic Dialogue. C. 2 M. ix. though they all speak and write English fluently. and this volume contains (with one exception as mentioned) the papers and commentaries that were originally presented during the 2004-5 academic year at different meetings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy. Thus we are happy to include his paper in the present volume. 1986).H. even though it was presented within the previous year’s program so that. there are some scholars who sustain my belief in the possibility of a fruitful exchange between different traditions of interpretation. . there are citation cartels which seem designed to promote academic careers rather than to promote dialogue. Just as keen analytical skill is necessary for examining the arguments of the dialogues. there seems to be an increasing unwillingness to read the work of other scholars with sympathy and understanding. it is no coincidence that many of the scholars writing in this volume represent different ways of interpreting ancient philosophical texts. Boston University. Each colloquium represents the activities of a single meeting at one of the following participating institutions: Boston College.viii JOHN J. (Cambridge.

In many cases. and especially in response to critical comments from our external referees. Francisco Lisi. I would like to thank the following referees who helped us to maintain our academic standards by providing reader’s reports on the papers included in this volume: Sarah Broadie. In conclusion. we try to retain the dialogical character of such colloquia by publishing both the paper and commentary from each of the meetings. together with the section ‘About our Contributors. I wish to thank my colleagues on the BACAP committee for their ongoing commitment to the whole program. Victor Caston. however. At the end of the volume. and Dartmouth College. I also want to thank our editorial assistant. Michael J. I wish to acknowledge the continued financial assistance provided by the administrators at Boston College. for his cooperation and friendship which helped me through a personal bereavement during this last year. Michael J. BOSTON COLLEGE & NUI MAYNOOTH (IRELAND) . these oral presentations have been extensively revised by their authors in the light of subsequent discussions. Smith. Michael Pakaluk. Marina McCoy. readers can turn to my Introduction which tries to summarize some of the main topics covered by the papers published in this volume. Deborah Modrak. In most cases. whose survival continually depends on their voluntary work at each of the participating institutions. Alessandra Fussi. Smith. for his careful work in preparing camera-ready copy for this volume in the Philosophy Department at Boston College. Finally.’ readers will find a general index of names that was collated by our editorial assistant. As a poor substitute for an index of contents. and James Wilberding.PREFACE ix University. my colleague and co-editor at Boston College. whose enlightened support for the whole project over the past 21 years has been exemplary. But I would particularly like to thank Gary Gurtler. the College of the Holy Cross.


g. As usual. called Politeia of the Athenians. Thus. Within this genre.. Indeed. He claims that such a broader perspective can help to resolve some perennial problems that arise both about the general interpretation of Plato’s views in the Republic (e. . either as an ideal to be emulated (by aristocrats) or to be criticized (by democrats). he can hardly avoid dealing with the Spartan constitution. these writings contain not so much descriptions of how cities actually govern their affairs but prescriptions for how best they ought to be governed. or the more ambiguous anonymous work. the relationship between Book I and the rest of the work). If one wants to consult a pro-Spartan work. psychological and poetical topics. both of which almost certainly pre-date Plato’s Republic. if we had not included Stephen Menn’s paper from the previous year’s BACAP program.. In effect. Whichever attitude is adopted by the writer in question. in the first half of his paper. the dominance of Aristotle would have been even more complete. one has only to look at Xenophon’s largely uncritical Politeia of the Spartans. some of the salient features of this pre-existing tradition of ‘political’ writings. Is he pro-Spartan?) and about the internal relations between different parts of the text (e. while the remaining two are dedicated to Plato. my introduction is intended to function as a rather poor substitute for an index of contents. the constitution of the Spartans seems to have played a prominent role.’ which was an established genre different from Socratic writings. CLEARY By comparison with the previous volume which was dominated by papers on Plato.g. just as Plato does in a critical fashion both in the Republic and the Laws. In his wide-ranging and scholarly paper. which provides the background for Plato’s Republic. The two colloquia given over to Plato focus on political topics from his Republic and Laws.INTRODUCTION JOHN J. Menn tries to reconstruct from the extant evidence. I. Stephen Menn suggests that Plato’s Republic and Laws should be read within the historical context of an ancient Greek tradition of writings ‘On the Politeia. the balance of power in this volume has decisively shifted towards Aristotle who is the subject for five of the colloquia. while the colloquia on Aristotle cover ethical.

while he is constructing his own best politeia. This also has a direct bearing on the relation between Book I and the rest of the Republic. Athenian. Menn points out that the link between the question of justice and types of politeia has already been raised by Thrasymachus in Book I. . and democracy. by giving an alternative positive account of what justice is. he points to the fact that timocracy (which is a typically Spartan politeia) is held to be superior to the so-called politeiai talked about in Book I. where he first constructs an ideal polis out the raw materials of human nature. and by establishing that a just politeia is possible because ideal justice is rooted in nature rather than merely in convention. which has a great deal of empirical support in the actual conduct of different Greek cities. even though it is closest to the good and correct politeia. According to Menn. Menn cites Politics Book II where Aristotle criticizes Plato for not first examining other politeiai before proposing his own ideal politeia. where it is sharply criticized.xii JOHN J. the amount of attention given to the Thrasymachean conception of justice is only justified because it is the logical outcome of the standard sophistic theory of politeia. e. In support of this whole interpretation.. Yet. CLEARY By pointing to these extant works. tyranny. Thus. It is only by seeing the contrasts between Callipolis and the other politeiai in Republic Book VIII that we can understand why he has built certain features into Callipolis in the first place.. Despite appearances to the contrary. Menn suggests that this is because the character Socrates is not directly concerned with pointing out what is wrong with other real or imagined politeiai. we should still understand Plato’s ideal politeiai in the Republic and Laws as emerging from a process of correction of the inadequacies of the (real or imaginary) politeiai that people ordinarily admire. where he launches a specifically political challenge to justice. according to Menn. i. As evidence for this claim. Menn concedes. since the Spartan politeia is not thematized until Book VIII. But this is precisely what Plato has not done in the Republic. the rule against guardians owning private property. without explicit reference to other cities. oligarchy. and other politeiai. however. Menn claims that Plato began from the idealized Sparta of the politeia-literature when constructing his own ideal in the Republic. within the context of his Socratic dialogue on justice. Menn argues convincingly against the claim that Plato was the originator of the ‘politeia’ genre of writing. that Plato does not do so directly in Books II-VII. and only subsequently criticizes the Spartan.e. Plato wants to refute the claims of Thrasymachus that rulers in existing politeiai rule in their own interests. Contrary to the standard interpretation that Plato depicts types of polis so as to provide large-scale models for types of soul.g.

on the one hand. establishing something more than a merely contingent relationship between human happiness and the external . ‘Wishing for Fortune. According to this view. whereas we can only wish for good fortune and the external goods that it brings. Brown interprets Aristotle’s qualification (i. wealth and social status. In defence of his thesis. for happiness. we should not take Aristotle to be defining happiness in terms of both virtuous activity and external goods. on the other hand. Brown argues that there is an intrinsic link between virtue and good fortune because virtue is partially constituted by the correct appreciation of value.INTRODUCTION xiii II. which Aristotle deals with later in EN I after he has confirmed his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. while arguing that Aristotle makes external goods essential for happiness only because they are necessary for virtuous rational activity.’ Eric Brown re-examines the vexed question of the relationship between external goods and happiness. Thus Brown claims that Aristotle’s insistence on ‘a complete life’ concerns time and not external goods. that it preserves the traditional distinction between the Aristotelian and Stoic views on happiness while. In support of this claim. In this way. Furthermore.. while holding both that happiness requires a complete life and that virtuous activity requires external goods. Brown offers an account of why Aristotle thinks that external goods are necessary because people have a psychological need for certain external goods like good friends. thereby. Brown claims that Aristotle believes that external goods are necessary for virtuous activity and. that happiness is wholly instantiated only by a lifetime of virtuous activity. But perhaps the most original part of Brown’s closely reasoned paper is the section where he develops his account in terms of Aristotle’s distinction between wish and choice. Aristotle allows us to choose activity. Brown provides a schematic map of EN I 8-12 as a whole. according to Aristotle.e.e. i. in a complete life) to his definition of happiness in a chronological sense to mean that the pursuit of happiness is a lifelong project. The attractions of such a conclusion are. Central to Brown’s exegetical thesis is the claim that throughout EN I Aristotle sticks to his narrow account of happiness as virtuous rational activity. and proposes what he considers to be a novel answer in terms of the Aristotelian distinction between wishing and choosing.. Brown argues. In an aptly titled paper. There is a separate question about what is the relationship between happiness and external goods. Thus. since everything which he says in EN I is consistent with his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. and because our capacity to choose virtuously is diminished when we fail to obtain what we wish for.

. motivating the exercise of wisdom in its activity of contemplation and making the sage more proficient at this activity. In such a life. according to Gurtler. This is related to the second sense of completeness. In support of his own analysis. In his thoughtful paper on phantasia in Aristotle. Aristotle shows that happiness is like pleasure. CLEARY goods of fortune. for instance. Significantly. that our failure to get such wished for goods as depend on fortune significantly diminishes our capacity to choose virtuously. However. Aristotle’s response to this question does not focus on duration so much as on the fact that intellect and its activity is the defining part of a human being. Alfredo Ferrarin first addresses the hermeneutical problem of recovering an historically correct and textually accurate interpretation of the role of phantasia in Aristotle’s thought. i. in his commentary Gary Gurtler warns against the danger of identifying Aristotle’s notion of blessedness too closely with common opinions about the good life and what one might wish for. defined in terms of contemplation. despite the layers of interpretation and commentary that have . III. While agreeing with the general thrust of Brown’s paper. Brown’s central argument seems to depend on attributing a psychological thesis to Aristotle for which there is little textual evidence. Gurtler argues that one usage of ‘complete’ is related to Aristotle’s technical distinction between activity as complete and motion as incomplete. is possible for human beings.1-5. thereby motivating the agent to perform that activity more frequently. Gurtler draws on EN X where Aristotle considers the question of whether happiness..e. it is not a matter of how long happiness lasts but rather whether the appropriate kind of life can belong to a human being. namely. The other usage relies on the common meaning of teleios as indicating what is full-grown or mature. can be called happy. Thus happiness functions as a final cause. In EN X. according to which human life is characterized as an integrated whole. which leads him to define happiness as an activity rather than as a habit or disposition.e. i. an activity that supervenes on another specific activity. such that it can be regarded as one’s true self. contemplation is not a chance event but rather an integral part of a life that has reached a perfection that may be defined as contemplative. given that intellect is divine rather than human.xiv JOHN J. so that it makes sense for Aristotle to deny that children. He points out that Aristotle’s specification of a ‘complete life’ is not durational but formal.

compare and clarify them. Such readings tend to treat the sense faculties as passive recipients of atomized pieces of information that require an active power to unify. so that the resulting phantasma is at best a copy. Furthermore. He claims that Aristotle’s notion of phantasia is not definite and systematic. we tend to emphasize the differences between perception and phantasia rather than underlining the continuity between them. as well as touching on the Rhetoric and Nicomachean Ethics for Aristotle’s discussions of deliberative phantasia and its role in human action. phantasia is described as a process that is dependent on sensation but is not itself an activity.3 which he reads as work in progress rather than as Aristotle’s definitive account of phantasia. as well as being a capacity to identify complex perceptual states of affairs. not a standard or model but rather a derivative proxy for the perceptual object. Against all such interpretations. By contrast. Consequently. i.INTRODUCTION xv accumulated within the Aristotelian tradition. for instance. he warns against talking about phantasia as if it were an independent faculty because he considers such talk to presuppose the modern notion of an ego-subject to which cognitions and volitions can be ascribed as a kind of inner space distinct from the body. he warns against the danger of bringing into play our modern presuppositions about imagination as a creative and independent faculty of the self-conscious subject. e.. Ferrarin focuses on DA III. As one might expect. phantasia is a very narrow notion in Aristotle that is quite puzzling precisely because it is vague and incomplete. which results from prior perception and which may be used in . While Aristotle does treat perception and thinking as independent powers of the soul.3 to draw on Parva Naturalia for some physiological aspects of phantasia. As a result of his analysis of DA III. by treating mental faculties as separate and distinct.g. as many commentators tend to do. Thus.3. Ferrarin insists that for Aristotle perception is an active awareness of distinct sensory content. Ferrarin claims that Aristotle understands phantasia as a form of representation of things in their absence. Ferrarin goes beyond DA III. as we might have expected.e.. For instance. In this way Ferrarin argues that a correct understanding of phantasia in Aristotle depends on a proper assessment of its intermediate position between perception and thinking. depending on the different contexts in which it is used. Any such assumption runs counter to Aristotle’s hylomorphism which regards the soul as the form of an organic body. Ferrarin emphasizes that this process is fundamentally reproductive. but instead is indefinite and open-ended. Thus Ferrarin rejects as un-Aristotelian all those modern interpretations of phantasia which treat it as some kind of active power of interpreting (seeing-as) passive perceptions. the white of Diares’ son. according to Aristotle.

presented. Aristotle claims that memory is always of images. not mere . Thus Brinkmann argues that we need to answer the question of what kind of functionally necessary work phantasia is supposed to do. we can use images as particular examples and illustrations of intelligible forms. visualized.5) the corporeal basis for thinking. which is not reducible either to perception or to any other cognitive process. according to Aristotle. In his fine commentary.8 Aristotle does say that thoughts could not exist without phantasmata because these in turn depend on perception. Phantasia is the process by which images are left over. Brinkmann claims that Aristotle’s primary purpose in this chapter is to show that phantasia is a faculty sui generis. and all these images are traces of prior perceptions. there is a possibility of error because I may connect the content of my perception with the wrong phantasma. depending on how we want to use it. Brinkmann notes that in DA III. even when we remember intelligible things. Thus a sense-derived phantasma can become a representational image or even a disconnected phantasma. which makes it an image of some perceptible thing. held fast as possibly true. He argues that phantasmata are sensible forms. According to Aristotle. He briefly reviews one answer recently given by Victor Caston who claims that Aristotle introduces phantasia in order to explain how cognitive error is possible. by contrast with perception.xvi JOHN J. Ferrarin finds unduly restrictive the traditional interpretation of Aristotle as making all thinking dependent on imagination. precisely by disregarding its particularity. though he complains that Caston does not go far enough in explaining the role of phantasia in cognition. For the purposes of thinking. Klaus Brinkmann notes the curious fact that DA III. Brinkmann suggests that the most fundamental and indispensable function of phantasia for cognition is that it uses sensations to generate sensible forms or universals that refer to the sensible features of things. Brinkmann is convinced by Caston’s general point that Aristotle uses phantasia to explain the existence of error. no detailed explanation is given of how and why phantasia plays an indispensable role in believing and thinking. Similarly. the preserved image is not limited to the immediacy of the given. Ferrarin suggests that this is what Aristotle means by saying that one can see the universal in the phantasma. recalled. given that any perception of its proper object is always correct. with reference to the whole cognitive process.3 does not specify what indispensable contribution phantasia is supposed to make towards the whole cognitive process. given that he denies (DA III. the reason why phantasia lends itself to memory and thought is that. However. Rather controversially. But in the case of so-called ‘incidental’ perception. CLEARY memory and thought. However.

e. which distributes and orders appropriate shares.. By means of his philological excursus. This would explain why there can be no thoughts without phantasmata. Subsequently. rational discourse that teaches all souls what they must appreciate in their own interest. Similarly. Pradeau alerts us to the paucity of historical information available on Greek law in general. without sensible forms as their prerequisite. Pradeau argues convincingly that such an understanding of law is not uniquely Platonic but rather encapsulates the typical features of law as viewed by most classical thinkers.8 where Aristotle says that intelligible forms are ‘among’ the sensible forms. and claims that this is supported by DA III. While nomos may be used in a specific sense to refer to any law. Plato expands and deepens this conception of law through his analysis of rational . Pradeau argues that the original usage of nomos is related to the activity of distributing land and the exercise of pastoral authority. it also has the general sense of the totality of law that makes it synonymous with politeia. we have difficulty in ascertaining how much he adopts or adapts from Athenian law. IV. It was commonly conceived as the discourse which teaches the citizen the way to virtue through obedience to the law. As part of his philolological study of the term nomos. i.’ Jean-François Pradeau discusses the philosophical and rhetorical function of ‘preambles’ attached to particular laws within Plato’s Laws. ‘Enchanting the Souls.e. If phantasmata are universals that would better explain why Aristotle insists that phantasmata are needed in the act of contemplation itself. From this perspective one can understand why Plato’s Laws links the fate of the polis with its legislation. while the term also designates the habitual usage of the group according to which its life is ordered.INTRODUCTION xvii sensations. law as the common prescriptive discourse that is imposed on all citizens as governing their conduct in the interest of the city. i. Thus for Greek thinkers any discourse on law always involves both judicial and institutional factors such that it becomes a discourse on civic community and its constitutional organization. i.. given that law is defined as the reasoning imposed on the city. the educative conception of law is also ancient and common to classical Greek thinkers who saw the law as an instrument for education. In his aptly titled paper.e. nomos functions as a prescription for conduct within the polis. nomos becomes a common prescription that can be written down. In this way. Hence when Plato gives detailed descriptions of his proposed legislation for Magnesia in the Laws. just as much as for prohibition and surveillance.

in his paper he explores how the laws are supposed to act on souls so as to inculcate the virtues that are required in good citizens. Pradeau argues. Thus he compares the preambles to musical preludes that charm the soul. the law takes the place of reason. According to Plato. or preliminary discourse that is addressed to the rational faculty of the citizen so as to persuade him by exhortation and threats to act in accordance with the law. Along with persuasive discourse. Pradeau claims that the preambles are more like sermons than purely rational discourses. One ostensible reason for paying attention to its dialogical structure is that it may reveal. Plato’s purpose in writing as he does. According to Pradeau. In his extensive commentary. this is one of the principal functions of the elaborate ‘preambles’ that we find in the Laws. For individuals who cannot rationally control their own desires. the law is a discourse prescribed by the legislator to the citizen who must act in conformity with it. the law also prescribes penalties for not conforming to law and these must be imposed by the police or guardians. As illustrated by the long preamble to the law on sexuality.xviii JOHN J. Gavin Colvert draws our attention to the dramatic structure of Plato’s Laws as a dialogue between three elderly Greeks from different cities who are serving as legislators for a fictional colony called Magnesia. that Plato envisages the law as prescribing for the soul of the citizen the sort of behavior which it can actualize only when the rational faculty is properly governing the spirited and appetitive faculties. at different levels. Plato regarded a certain kind of civic rhetoric as being indispensable for persuading the citizens of Magnesia to obey the law. and that they are akin to parental admonitions about good and bad behavior that appeal to religious authority. its purpose is to persuade the citizen through a mixture of admonition and threats to adhere to the law by suppressing through fear the irrational desires. Since this form of pedagogy must be based on persuasive rhetoric. CLEARY discourse and his inquiry into the receptive soul of the citizen. therefore. however. Despite his radical critique of contemporary political rhetoric. For instance. which has both an edifying and pedagogical purpose in telling them what good and bad conduct is and how to distinguish them. Plato invented the preamble to the laws. so that the preambles are intended by Plato to accomplish rational constraint and to further the moral education of the citizens. only the Athenian Stranger seems to be . This is the function of the legislative discourse addressed to all the citizens. just like an incantation that makes it receptive to the law and leads to obedience becoming internalized like a second nature. Consequently. who instead of being coerced should be persuaded to obey by teaching him that obedience is in his own interest.

are virtual strangers and two of them have little interest in philosophy. Fran O’Rourke transports us from the poetic to the metaphysical level with a potent cocktail of literary illustrations and philosophical argumentation. who speaks simultaneously to two different audiences. In this way. According to this argument. On the contrary. However. Colvert draws attention to the different fictional audiences addressed in both dialogues. Drawing on such examples in the Laws. analogy is the essence . while connecting these assumptions with other aspects of his philosophy. against Pradeau’s thesis about the continuity between the Republic and Laws. In a highly literate contribution on Aristotle and the metaphysics of metaphor. By adopting this Straussian approach. Colvert’s purpose is to show that the dramatic context of the Laws sometimes lends support to Pradeau’s conclusions but sometimes calls them into question. Colvert suggests. Thus Colvert claims that the attentive reader of the Laws (who has also read Leo Strauss) will sense that Plato’s target audience are people of the same nature as the philosophical Athenian Stranger.INTRODUCTION xix aware of the deeper significance of the clear difference between the education to be given to most citizens and the philosophical training offered to members of the so-called Nocturnal Council. Colvert argues that considerations of dramatic context and audience suggest instead that Plato deployed his discourse about the law differently under varied circumstances. Colvert does not think that such an analysis provides direct support for Pradeau’s claim that Plato’s characters use the term nomos in the same way in both dialogues. V. so that there is continuity in his treatment of nomos. For instance. His explicit intention is to examine some of the presuppositions of Aristotle’s theory of metaphor. unlike the Republic. Thus the fictional audience within the Laws are the elderly non-philosophers who do not always understand the philosophical significance of the legislative program outlined by the Athenian Stranger. Colvert describes the complex relationship between the philosopher and the lawgivers in Magnesia. The characters in the Laws. O’Rourke argues convincingly that the key to this theory is Aristotle’s understanding of metaphor as analogy. Pradeau’s continuity thesis might be indirectly supported by a dramatic analysis which can account for the different presentations in the Republic and the Laws. From this disparity Colvert infers that Plato’s intended audience are younger people (within the Academy) who are more suited to philosophical inquiry and with whose political education he is mainly concerned.

Such perception is characteristic of the poetic ability which cannot be taught.g. the vocabulary used in many different languages for the activity of knowing and perceiving usually involves physical metaphors like seizing and grasping. But any adequate explanation of metaphoric signification must also account for the unity underlying the two domains from which these expressions are drawn. and also as an indication of man’s psychosomatic unity. O’Rourke argues that this is the basis for Aristotle’s vision of a unified cosmos which is rendered intelligible by means of analogous principles. he explains that metaphor through proportional analogy is the most highly prized. O’Rourke distinguishes between metaphors that have a limited cultural value. thereby expressing a similarity of relations. For instance. In her useful commentary. O’Rourke claims that the unity of analogy (which is basic for metaphor) has broad implications for Aristotle’s physical and metaphysical thought. He concludes that it is this fundamental ontological relatedness among beings which provides Aristotle with the profound basis for metaphor in every sphere of being. so that Aristotle’s metaphysics as a science of being qua being can discover those causes and principles that are common to all beings. species. and those which are universal in scope and which indicate something essential to human nature. he seems to characterize metaphor negatively as being obscure. Aristotle defines metaphor as the transfer to one thing of a term belonging properly to another. The key to proportional metaphor is the perception of a novel resemblance between two pairs of coordinates which are not normally conjoined. and on the diversity and interconnection of beings within the cosmos. For instance. CLEARY of metaphor because it relies on the diversity and unity both of human knowledge and of human nature. Thus analogical unity transcends the unity of the individual. analogy is the similarity of an intrinsic proportion that is realized across many different relationships. Here the basis for the transfer to mental acts of the names of physical activity must be some analogous similarity perceived between them. in the Rhetoric. Ioanna Patsioti-Tsacpounidi draws our attention to the apparently conflicting statements which Aristotle makes about metaphor in different texts. within the logical texts of his Organon. In the Poetics. the poetic parallel between the shield of Ares and the cup of Dionysus.. According to its root meaning. Furthermore. and genus. and Aristotle provides such a foundation through his account of the ultimate unity and complementary distinctness of body and soul. whereas he describes it as clear and effective for persuasion in the . and so must be regarded as a gift of the Muses. e. matter.xx JOHN J. Thus metaphor can be regarded as a kind of token for the analogous unity-in-diversity of the cosmos. according to analogy or proportion. form and privation. such as act and potency.

thereby providing support for a particularist reading of Aristotle. She suggests that O’Rourke does not provide a satisfactory account of such conflicting claims about metaphor. VI.’ Thus the structure of his paper is determined by four guiding questions. Patsioti-Tsacpounidi accepts O’Rourke’s general thesis that metaphor is closely linked to Aristotle’s use of analogy in metaphysics and biology. which is possible because of the coordination of relationship within language itself. seems to be that O’Rourke does not draw on Ricouer’s semantic analysis of metaphor in Aristotle. but she suggests that one might also usefully examine this link within the ethical treatises.INTRODUCTION xxi Poetics and Rhetoric. Her main complaint. In his provocatively modernizing paper. since Aristotle uses the notion of metaphor to capture possible relations between similar and dissimilar things. however. (3) Does Aristotle suppose that there are relevant factors . Aristotle uses the example of ‘medical’ as an illustration of analogy. For instance. she advocates further inquiry into the epistemological significance of metaphor in Aristotle. however. Price undertakes to defend Newman’s reading of Aristotle by clarifying its implications with respect to Jonathan Dancy’s contemporary view which he labels ‘particularism’ as opposed to ‘generalism. She also suggests that he might have paid more attention to Aristotle’s definition of metaphor as the transposition of an alien name to another location. since for him all moral principles admit of exceptions. Anthony Price begins with a long quotation from Newman’s Grammar of Assent which he regards as being a faithful account of Aristotle’s conception of phronêsis. In addition to metaphysical analysis. Given that metaphor involves the recognition of similarity in dissimilar things through the process of perception. (2) Does Aristotle suppose that there are any principles applied without exception that guide decisions? Price gives a qualified positive answer by trying to determine how large a role is given by Aristotle to such principles. she accepts O’Rourke’s thesis that it is used by Aristotle to connect the physical and psychic parts of human existence. in his discussion of different types of friendship in terms of focal meaning. She also suggests that our understanding of these analogical relationships might be improved through an analysis in terms of likeness and unlikeness. (1) Does Aristotle suppose that an agent’s practical decisions apply some general specification of eudaimonia to a particular situation? Price gives a negative answer to this question. as she herself does.

g. Indeed. Aristotle does hold that there are good and bad pleasures linked to action but there is no unambiguous evidence for variable valence with regard to sub-types of action. thereby undermining an extreme particularist reading of Aristotle. relying on character to determine specific judgments. The moral agent who opts for one kind of eudaimonia is not endorsing any Grand End that is sufficient to direct all his deliberation but rather is adopting a general moral orientation that allows for a wide spectrum of specific ends for action. With respect to the first question. which implies that features of an action may count for or against it in different contexts. An extreme particularist may deny that any general principles either do or should play any role in generating or explaining a decision to act in some determinate way in a certain situation. Price faults both generalism and extreme particularism in ethics for failing to give an adequate role to character in moral decision-making. Price concludes that not only first-order but also second-order rules of practical action hold only for the most part. Thus his ideal is a person on . (4) Does Aristotle suppose that a moral agent brings nothing to a new situation except “a contentless ability to discern what matters where it matters” (Dancy)? Price’s answer to this question is negative. the pleasure taken in an action may give it a different valence depending on the character of the action. taking vicious pleasure in bad actions. adultery. After considering the textual evidence from both the Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics. according to Aristotle.. as the particularist holds.g.. Even the most promising passage in the Eudemian Ethics has nothing to say about a blueprint for living or even a decision-procedure for action. e. Such an objection leads Price to consider variabilism as one central aspect of Dancy’s particularism. Price reviews the evidence for and against attributing to Aristotle a ‘Grand End’ view of ethical deliberation such that the rationality of an action would be shown by its derivation from an unchanging blueprint which is applied to a particular situation and its changing circumstances. e. After considering the evidence. Aristotle does seem to regard as absolute some universal prohibitions on murder. one might object.xxii JOHN J. which are concrete and hold without exception. Price concludes that there is no basis for attributing this view to Aristotle. CLEARY whose valence is invariable between different contexts? Again Price’s answer is positive. Price questions whether Aristotle regarded any practical principles as absolute in the sense of applying to all actions without exception. and theft. though he points out that a moral agent faces situations as they arise. The espousal of such universal moral principles would appear to rule out any attempt to read Aristotle as a particularist like Dancy. Yet.

i. without assuming that some Grand End or comprehensive blueprint is involved. practical wisdom can be seen as incorporating a synoptic understanding of what is important in human life. is too hasty in giving up the idea that a practically wise person deliberates from some general conception of eudaimonia. Bridget Clarke suggests that John McDowell might have been better than Jonathan Dancy as a modern foil for Price when he asks the question of whether or not Aristotle is a particularist. Clarke suggests that we can make sense of the idea that a correct concept of eudaimonia serves as the end of deliberation.INTRODUCTION xxiii whom we can rely to make sound moral judgments. we can speak of an agent deliberating towards a conception of eudaimonia. In this way. even when its content can only be specified through particular applications of it. But does this correspond to Aristotle’s view? Price thinks there is no simple way of classifying Aristotle as a particularist. according to Price. someone who gets it right case by case. she argues. she attributes to Aristotle a moderate particularism that has none of the deficiencies that Price finds in Dancy’s extreme particularism. Clarke tries to show that the particularist literature on the ethical treatises both anticipates Price’s criticism of Dancy. Once again drawing on McDowell’s more expansive notion of deliberation. Presumably such a person is the product of moral education. which begins to look like a counter-paper. as McDowell puts it. and also provides a more convincing account of practical reason. she criticizes Price for adopting an overly narrow view of phronêsis in Aristotle. by explicitly adopting McDowell’s approach. one must keep in mind the central place that Aristotle gives to achieving an understanding of the human good within human life. although it is impossible to formulate it definitively before it is actually applied to a particular situation. Aristotle’s conception of practical truth also helps him to avoid the errors of extreme particularism that pays scant attention to the humanity of moral agents. But. By focusing on McDowell’s reading of Aristotle. the phronimos has a synoptic vision of eudaimonia that helps him to make specific choices which will realize that end. Therefore. which fails to take account of his richer notion of deliberation that goes beyond means-end calculation. On this basis. . Thus. though he does avoid the errors of an excessive generalism that pays no attention to particular circumstances. She claims that Price. In her very long commentary.e. Instead. Central to that moderate particularism is the idea that some end may figure in deliberation. instead of a Grand End or blueprint. in trying to avoid attributing to Aristotle a modern ‘top-down’ model of practical reason. Thus.

For instance. while also reviewing some recent secondary literature on this Aristotelian topic. most notably from De Somno. given that its content is more complex than simply color. Johansen takes into account many of the standard criticisms of inner sense theory. that Aristotle does not provide an answer in terms of some further senses. This axiom becomes important later in Johansen’s paper when he addresses the controversial question of whether the so-called ‘common sense’ is a distinct faculty for Aristotle. that we are conscious of our perceptions by means of further perceptions that take those first perceptions as their objects. which discuss the way that we perceive contents that transcend special perception. like the so-called . either directly or indirectly. Johansen argues. along with a general analysis of its argumentative structure. Thus. the passage needs to be supplemented with others. Aristotle considers a range of perceptual or quasi-perceptual faculties in order to show that these are adequately explained with reference to the activities of the five sense faculties.e.xxiv JOHN J. i. As a result of his thorough analysis. the passage at DA III.2.. this is the core of Johansen’s paper where he takes account of some of the major controversies surrounding the interpretation of the passage. so as to provide the specific context for the passage at DA III. Thomas Johansen provides a close analysis of a key passage in Aristotle’s De Anima. before offering his own comprehensive interpretation.2 which he proposes to analyse in detail. But first Johansen provides a translation of the key passage at DA III. In his comprehensive and detailed paper. As an integral part of his interpretation. But. which he interprets as supporting a version of ‘inner sense’ theory. however. Johansen argues. In fact. He begins with a general outline of Aristotle’s discussion of the faculties of perception in De Anima. This is consistent with his general view that the account of the five senses. namely. at DA III. is adequate for explaining the phenomenon of perceiving that we see or hear or smell. Johansen claims that here Aristotle is guided by an axiom of explanatory economy. while also reviewing the views of contemporary scholars like Kosman and Caston. who were also involved in this colloquium.2 leaves us with a question as to how sight can be responsible for second-order perception. given in DA II. he claims. Johansen accepts that Aristotle defines the faculties of sense perception in terms of their activities. that faculties should not be multiplied unnecessarily.1-3. but insists that not all activities of the soul serve to define distinct faculties. CLEARY VII. Johansen claims that Aristotle’s view is that perceiving that one sees may be treated as a function of the faculty of sight itself. and not of any different sense faculty.

Johansen accepts that Aristotle does give an account of perceptual selfconsciousness when he specifies by what faculty we can gain information about our perceptual activities. Drawing on Aquinas’s general analysis of the regress argument for efficient causes.’ but rather in terms of how the five senses work together as a comprehensive faculty of perception. Kosman suspects that Johansen’s discussion remains more concerned with selfconsciousness. Aryeh Kosman raises a few perceptive objections. when we see? (2) Is Johansen’s interpretation of DA III. Thus Kosman emphasizes that Aristotle’s concern is with the explanation of first-order consciousness and not with the reflexive self-awareness that we call self-consciousness. But. without the requirement that perception be perceived. the ad infinitum argument would make no sense as an objection to Aristotle’s supposition that the agency for such perception lies elsewhere. Thus. so I will focus briefly on the final question about perceptual consciousness. Kosman rehearses some of the differences between himself and Johansen in their understanding of what Aristotle means when he talks about perceiving that we perceive. he . what sort of account does he give? Obviously. in the latter part of his paper. Johansen develops and defends the implications of his interpretation by considering the following questions: (1) In what way is Aristotle committed to the claim that we always perceive that we see. Despite the explicit parallels drawn with modern ‘inner sense’ theories. Kosman also raises some questions about what drives the infinite regress argument that Aristotle uses to establish the negative conclusion that no other faculty is needed beyond the sense faculty for perceiving that we perceive.2 and. Johansen does not find Aristotle offering any general account of perceptual consciousness by way of explaining how first-order perception is consciousness of objects in the world. Johansen’s conclusion is that Aristotle’s account of perceiving that we perceive does not amount to a general account of phenomenal consciousness as such. In light of the distinction between first-order perceptual awareness of objects in the world and second-order awareness of our own perceptions. In his model commentary. it is impossible for me to outline Johansen’s extensive answers to these questions. Kosman claims that.INTRODUCTION xxv ‘common sense. Finally. However.2 consistent with what Aristotle says elsewhere about perceiving that we see? (3) Does Aristotle offer a general account of perceptual consciousness in DA III. some of which have already been taken on board in Johansen’s revised paper. In this way he concludes that Aristotle is concerned with the explanation of perceptual consciousness for which iteration would be required. in general. but he also raises some questions (which remain open) about the interpretation of Aristotle. if so.

CLEARY suggests that Johansen. The third and fourth colloquia illustrate how a keen historical sensitivity can prevent us from making anachronistic assumptions about ancient texts and philosophical theories. which may not be appropriate to Aristotle’s concerns in the De Anima passage under discussion. The first colloquium. shows how the analytic approach to ancient texts can be enriched by bringing literary and historical approaches to bear on the same material. BOSTON COLLEGE & NUI MAYNOOTH (IRELAND) . which underlines our original goal of providing a forum for conversation between different traditions of interpreting ancient philosophical texts. though the commentators often provide an alternative perspective on the same issues. each colloquium in this volume (with one unavoidable exception) is dialogical both in structure and content. however. Once again. The final colloquium on Aristotle’s theory of ‘inner sense’ may be regarded as determining the status quaestionis on this topic. by contrast. the dominant analytic tradition is well represented in at least three of the colloquia. since it involves some prominent contributors to the recent debate.xxvi JOHN J. the fifth and sixth colloquia show how modern philosophical preoccupations can be usefully employed in reaching a new perspective on some central issues in Aristotle’s thought. But. According to the established practice of our Proceedings. seems to be concerned with secondorder consciousness. although they are very different from each other in theme and style.

I hope to present here. and a kind quite different from the “Socratic ” that Plato had mostly been writing. Cartledge and Kamtekar were very detailed and helpful). but also how it is unlike. for instance. and about the relations between different parts and emphases of the text. In particular.COLLOQUIUM 1 ON PLATO’S STEPHEN MENN 1 I. . it can give new perspectives on some perennial problems. Plato would not have written a that would be just one more instance of the usual kind. in the light of the Greek tradition of writing “on the . enough of the results of this kind of investigation to show that it can bring new illumination to Plato’s text. so far as they are preserved or can be reconstructed. Undoubtedly. Paul Cartledge. what is the relation between the elenctic Socrates of Book I and the more positive Socrates of Books II-X.” This was a well-established kind of writing in Plato’s day. and we can ask why Plato in the Republic chose to take up this kind of writing (and to make the character Socrates take up this kind of talking. and also Plato’s Laws and Aristotle’s Politics. Eric Brown. and what is the relation between the Republic’s discussion of moral virtue and its discussion of politics (is one a means to the other? is the text sim- _________ 1 I am grateful for comments on various stages of this paper to Tad Brennan. By problems about the different parts of the text I mean. and to audiences at Brown (BACAP) and at the Montreal Political Theory Workshop. in writing the Timaeus. Myles Burnyeat. part of his reason was to show that he could write an On Nature [ ] better and significantly different from the usual pre-Socratic accounts. just as. very different from his usual questioning style). as well as to my BACAP commentator Sara Monoson and an anonymous BACAP referee. so in trying to understand his work we will want to understand not merely how it is like. Nelly Lahoud. typical earlier . both about the interpretation of Plato’s views in the Republic. John Cooper. part of Plato’s reason was to show that he could write this kind of text better than the people who usually do it. if in sketchy form. Josh Ober and Malcolm Schofield (the comments of Brennan. Rachana Kamtekar. I want to present here some interim results from an ongoing project of reading Plato’s Republic.

English Republic) is attested solidly and early for Plato’s text. and Rhetoric III 4. oligarchy. why he finds Sparta good to think with in constructing his ideal . at Timaeus 17c1-3. or should we conclude (with Tigerstedt I 24476) that despite the similarities.1 p. points out that Aristotle cites the text by that name not only in the Politics but also in his Sussitikos (presumably the Sussitikoi Nomoi mentioned in Diogenes Laertius’ catalogue of Aristotle’s works). refers back to what is apparently the Republic as . V 12. and what is interesting for us is not to weigh them up and judge whether he is more pro.2 STEPHEN MENN ply a hodgepodge of different topics?). but rather to understand why he constructs his ideal the way he does. 1291a12. notably. and what this might imply for the meaning of his ideal. By problems about Plato’s views I mean. Rhet. but as a generic title like (Aristotle’s title for the Menexenus. not as a proprietary title for Plato’s work alone.8. with both Spartan and anti-Spartan elements. Cartledge 1999). 2 Furthermore. citing unnamed earlier writers who had argued that the of the text was the (best) . First let me say something about Greek literature and why it gives relevant comparanda for reading the Republic. For Aristotle says that. democracy and aristocracy. 1415b31) or . . 1261a6. 1406b32. and. Kroll. 1342a33. yet “because this [fifth kind] does not often _________ 2 Proclus In rem publicam v. and although this fifth constitution is the one most properly called . This is not exactly a title. does Plato really believe that the he constructs in Books II-VII would be the best if it ever came about. Plato himself. but given also that Plato sharply criticizes the Spartan in Republic VIII (and also in the Laws)? Should we say that Plato was essentially a Laconizer (with Popper 1945. IV 4. with qualifications. the differences are deep enough to show that Plato’s ideal proceeds from a fundamentally different and independent inspiration? Obviously both the resemblances and the differences are real.or anti-Spartan. II 6. does he really believe it is possible to actualize it. Aristotle makes clear that he intends this. III 14. 1264b28. 1316a1 and VIII 7. given that the Plato constructs has striking similarities to the Spartan (not necessarily to the historical reality but to the idealized Sparta as described in Xenophon’s of the Spartans). but Aristotle clearly cites the Republic under the title at Politics II 1. and does he advocate taking political action toward that end? Also—a somewhat less discussed but also perennial problem which will be of particular interest to me—what should we make of Plato’s views on Sparta. The title (Latin Res publica. although there is a fifth or constitution beyond monarchy. and that Theophrastus does so in his Laws and in many other places.

Plato Laws IV. . This was clearly Xenophon’s aim in his of the Spartans. the series of constitutions described in Republic VIII does not include a mean or blending of oligarchy and democracy. many texts called “ of the so-and-so’s” are also descriptions of an ideal.” like Plato’s. as “the Cretan and Spartan [ ].” Rep. but Aristotle’s subsequent discussion makes clear that he is counting this among governments which can be called aristocracies. the Laws. As we have seen Aristotle say. does describe such a constitution. by contrast. a text called “ of the so-and-so’s” might discuss which if any of the standardly recognized types of it fell under (cp. Aristotle omits tyranny here as being not properly a constitution. IV 7. texts called simply “ . 544c2-3). 712c6-e5. it escapes the notice of those who try to enumerate the kinds of . and it would also have been the aim of many other texts on the of the Spartans—and many there were. so it is clear that Aristotle is referring specifically to the Republic. Conversely. but would also classify all possible types of . going by the catalogue in Diogenes Laertius. 1293a40-b1). did not include the missing mixed constitution—which may support his judgment that this type is rarely found. The written that Aristotle is thinking of would include not only texts called simply “ ” or “ ” or “ ”. would not merely describe an ideal . but Aristotle often does not bother to distinguish the two types. In any case. once for a particular constitution which is preeminently constitutional as opposed to despotic rule. on the notorious problem of classifying the Spartan ). but once for a genre or kind of writing that includes Plato’s Republic. 3 In this passage Aristotle is using the word “ ” in three different senses: once for “constitution” in general.” We might think that the first type of text would be “normative” and the second “historical”. the timocracy or timarchy. in order to prove by exhaustion that their ideal is the best possible. Furthermore. since they are written in order to praise the of the so-andso’s and to contrast it with how other cities are governed. It is curious that Aristotle’s own collection of . VIII. although they are not aristocracies in the strictest sense. and they make use of only four [kinds] in their . but the opposite of constitutional rule. but also texts called “ of the so-and-so’s. Thus Aristotle speaks of “Thibron [who] seems to admire the legislator of the Spartans—and all the others who write about their too—on the ground that they ruled over many through exer- _________ 3 It initially seems odd that Aristotle does not mention Plato’s class of “timocracy”. and they would have covered heavily overlapping ranges of topics. of the kind that Aristotle specially calls .ON PLATO’S 3 come about. and in describing the possible types they might well describe the of the so-and-so’s (so the Republic describes the second-best type. like Plato” (Pol.

Aristotle himself. or else “although they speak of a more common [ ]. so the science ” must investigate not only the best for an ideal city. to find out what is right in them and to show that he himself is seeking a further not arbitrarily but “because the ones that now exist are not right” (b34-5). it is well known in continental scholarship: I am not sure how far . In Politics IV he complains that “most of those who have spoken ” either “seek only the very highest [ ]. one crucial step is “to consider. Thibron was a general in the Spartan campaigns in Anatolia after the failure of Cyrus’ revolt. and in Politics II he sets out “to examine the other . but also what is best under more common conditions. who wrote a of the Spartans in prose and perhaps another in verse (DK 88 B32-7. what kinds of thing [= what laws and customs] preserve and destroy cities and what kinds [preserve . they take away the existing . II 1. The broad outline of the history of the genre is well known— at least. So too Critias. 1288b35-1289a1). VII 14. and what best preserves each given type of (so Pol. out of the that have been collected. IV 1. but also what is best for the average body or for particular types of body. just as gymnastics must investigate not only what is the best regimen for an ideal body. as for the admirers of Sparta. cp. A22). II iii 34). As Aristotle states this program in EN X 9. Naturally such -ofthe-Spartans texts involved much idealizing away from the often brutal Spartan realities.4 STEPHEN MENN cising themselves for danger” (Pol. 1333b18-21. Xenophon Hellenica III i 4-8 and IV viii 17-19).” even if it requires impracticable material conditions. both the ones practiced in certain cities that are said to be wellgoverned [ —a Spartan slogan]. praising the Spartan or some other” (Pol. so for Aristotle too. drawing no distinction between that “exist” only in and those that are said to exist (or to have existed) in places like Sparta. having described his own Politics as an investigation ” (EN X 9. 1181b14-15). and for what causes some [cities] are and destroy] each of the governed [ ] rightly or wrongly” (1181b17-20). argues that. IV 1). Aristotle treats both idealizing -of-the-so-andso’s and purely ideal like Plato’s as proposals for how a city might best be governed. texts on the of the so-andso’s are instruments of the normative study of how a city should best be governed. said that “the of the Spartans is thought to be the most noble” (Hell. 1260b29-32). and any others that particular people have described and thought to be right [ ]” (Pol.

Ferrari’s introduction to Griffith and Ferrari 2000. and the title . and influenced by Plato to some degree. and Höffe 1997. But not all besides Plato’s are lost: setting aside the complex cases of Plato’s Laws and Aristotle’s Politics (although at least Politics VII-VIII is a classic ). building on de Romilly 1959. Dawson 1992. Hippodamus was involved in the founding of Thurii in 444/3 BC). the majority of these texts are later than Plato’s. But in fact the genre is both older than Plato. The majority of the fragmentary Spartan are already in FGrHist vol. in addition. One Anglophone account. it was Plato who invented it (in this vein one hears it said that Zeno of Citium’s . II 8. and no index entry for “Sparta”. a distinct French approach. Hippodamus and Phaleas of Chalcedon. ##580-98. seems to have had no impact on the literature. with nothing to suggest that Plato is the source from which all the branches after his time are spreading out. 5 Standard surveys such as Annas 1981. abbreviated FGrHist) has been projected to include fragments of . The only other recent Anglophone scholars of Greek political philosophy I know whose work makes use of the genre are Schofield. Murphy 1951. we have the pseudo-Xenophon of the Athenians. and Josiah Ober (see Ober 1998). 3B. have no discussion of the genre. Leroux 2002. Aristotle’s of the Athenians. the genuine Xenophon of the Spartans.F.F. whom Aristotle discusses together with _________ 4 A standard German handbook account is Treu 1966. even briefer by Connor 1989. 1267b29-30. A volume of the continuation of the Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (Jacoby 1923-. and also highly ramified. 49-51 and by Gera 1993. 42-54 discusses the concept of and the question of Plato’s political or utopian program in his historical context. must have been a reference specifically to Plato. 11-13. Cross and Woozley 1964.ON PLATO’S 5 this discussion has penetrated the Anglophone world. . is Bordes 1982. G. Ferrari (see Griffith and Ferrari 2000). 5 This may be in part because of a reluctance to rely on works that are lost. but does not focus on the genre or on Sparta. against this inference see Schofield 1999).R. focussing more on uses of the word “ ” than on the genre. Book VI of Polybius’ Histories is a of the Romans. Reeve 1988. Aristotle describes Hippodamus of Miletus as “the first of those who did not themselves engage in politics [ ] to undertake to say something ” (Pol. and Cicero’s De re publica. Paul Cartledge (see Cartledge forthcoming). None of these studies show much interest in philosophy. 211-15. and with much less interest in lost works. and most of Book II of Josephus’ Against Apion is a of the Jews.R. 4 But the genre. White 1979. just because of its title. 1935-47. Of course. There is a very quick sketch of the genre at Jacoby 1949. and I have heard it suggested that if there was afterward a genre. the honorable exception is G. seem not to have been much taken into account in the literature on Plato’s Republic. apart from Schofield 1999 (originally a review-essay on Dawson).

DK 23 B56-7). Xenophon’s attitude in the treatise is not simply pro-Spartan. on the side of his patron Agesilaus and against Lysander. 9 FGrHist #582. Xenocrates. Thibron. whose partisans are the target of the polemic in chapter XIV (on Agesilaus and Lysander and Pausanias. an afterthought reflecting Xenophon’s later disappointment with Sparta: the parallel with the end of the Cyropaedia. For a sense of the apparently limitless range of views that have been defended about the date and purpose of this text. and the Stoics Zeno and Chrysippus. but I accept Lipka’s arguments (9-13) for a dating in the mid-390’s: the evidence turns on chapter XIV. where everything has degenerated in Persia since Cyrus’ time. On the comparison between the end of the Cyropaedia and Resp. . as the edition of reference. see a note below). but when they still have harmosts (military governors) in many cities. see Dorion 2002. Lysander. as everything has degenerated in Sparta since they stopped following the laws of Lycurgus. In any case the once popular dating of chapter XIV after Leuctra seems clearly impossible (harmosts? threat of Sparta regaining hegemony?). 6 the extant genuine Xenophon of the Spartans (dated by its latest editor of the Spartans and the Thessalians by to the 390’s). It also seems clear that chapter XIV is not. see references in a note below. who condoned the seizure of the Theban citadel and failed to punish Sphodrias for his raid on the Piraeus. Warning: much about Pausanias is controversial. Mattingly 1997. FGrHist #582 T3.6 STEPHEN MENN him. 7 I will use Lipka 2002. written for him by Cleon of Halicarnassus according to Lysander 25 and Agesilaus 20.). Athenaeus XII 49 and XIV 59). After Plato we hear of works called or by Diogenes the Cynic. see however also the less ambitious Rebenich 1998. seem to have written their without any pretence that they had been in practice in Sparta or elsewhere. which assumes a time when the Spartans have lost their allies and their hegemony. and of the Spartans by three Spartans. Lac. There was also a by Protagoras. 7 the lost Critias. Also the extant pseudo-Xenophon (or “Old Oligarch”) of the Athenians (generally dated to somewhere between the 440’s and the 420’s). but is taking sides in an internal debate at Sparta. including the text of the crucial passage from Ephorus. and brief but acute introduction in Bowersock 1968. 307-10. More generally. translation. as was once commonly assumed. a _________ 6 See the edition. found in Lysander’s house after his death. The date of the treatise has been the subject of a fair amount of controversy. cannot be a coincidence. according to Aristoxenus by Chrysogonus the flute-player (datable by his involvement in Alcibiades’ ceremonial return to Athens in 407. Lac. 8 and Pausanias. (I abbreviate the title as Resp. from Strabo VIII v 5. 8 . Croix 1972. For full references and discussion see FGrHist #583. 9 are all pre-Platonic. and a forged in the name of Epicharmus (two extant fragments. and there is something to be said for Rebenich’s dating to the time of the Theban revolution in the early 370’s. and Hornblower 2000. Lysander would be a nonissue and Xenophon would have to be criticizing his patron Agesilaus. Besides Jacoby. an excellent scholarly instrument. see de Ste. If we accept Rebenich’s dating. XIV. according to Ephorus in Plutarch Lysander 30.

The title of most of the lost Spartan . 12 There were _________ 10 References to all except Chrysippus and Theodorus and Oenomaus are in Diogenes Laertius in the lives of the respective authors (Diogenes VI 80. perhaps from Aristotle’s of the Spartans). Sphaerus. not . Rebenich 1998. Zeno VII 4. Where necessary to disambiguate. Hippasus. Theophrastus V 45). who was honored as a god by the Spartans. Theodorus and Oenomaus are in the Suda under and respectively. 11 Much of this literature may lie under Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus (which cites the works of Aristotle. concentrating on the collective mode of life of the Spartiate full citizens (especially men but also women) who are trained and lived their lives . References to the Zeno and Chrysippus works are collected in von Arnim’s Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta. Antisthenes VI 16. a by Tiberius’ teacher Theodorus of Gadara and a by the third century AD Cynic Oenomaus. and the texts on the Spartan seem to have said little or nothing about them. notably David 1979. Fr. and by persons named Aristocles. also said that Lycurgus. Nicocles and Proxenus (and by Aristocrates and Polycrates). this is not the same Polycrates who wrote the mentioned above). Demetrius V 81. 10 And besides Aristotle’s 158 of individual cities (including of course Sparta) there were further of the Spartans by the Peripatetic Dicaearchus. and. I will say “Spartiate” to make it clear that I am talking only about the full citizens. seems to have been or or variants on these. which contained an attack on the Spartans’ (according to Jacoby FGrHist #588 and #597. Xenocrates IV 12. Dioscurides and Aristocrates). Note that even Aristotle. 12 But see the reference in Josephus Against Apion I 221 to Polycrates’ Tripolitikos. but I will translate as “ of the Spartans” in all cases. none of these of the Spartans. except Aristotle’s and possibly Pausanias’. said anything negative about Sparta. But these groups precisely did not participate in the .ON PLATO’S 7 by Antisthenes. Dioscurides. cited by Plutarch Lycurgus 31. a by Theophrastus (the same title might be applied to Aristotle’s Politics VII-VIII. also of Gadara. as well as of the extant Xenophon. none of these works being primarily devoted to Sparta. It seems to be agreed that . Molpis. in the imperial period. “Lacedaimonians” or “Laconians” might in principle include the perioeci or other disenfranchised groups as well as the Spartiate full citizens. as far as we know. 2 in Mirhady 2001). There are of course also criticisms in extant works of Plato. 11 For all of these see FGrHist ##580-98. The Pausanias text is unfortunately a scholarly hornet’s nest (on which see now van Wees 1999 and references therein. lists which scholars line up on which side). 534 Rose. a by Demetrius of Phalerum. who makes harshly critical comments on Sparta and who remains the source of our most damning information about it. by the Stoics Persaeus and Sphaerus. Aristotle and Isocrates. except to criticize what were alleged to be post-Lycurgan deviations (Dicaearchus’ was so laudatory that the Spartans are said to have mandated yearly readings of it. 23n87. was honored less than he deserved (Aristotle Fr. which begin with [almost] these words).

making up his own perhaps impossible res publica. it remains true after Plato as before him that the most common way to present “the best ” was to describe. Polybius also discusses Crete (VI xlv 1-xlvii 6). in an idealizing way. has no right to enter the competition (VI xlvii 7-10). since it has never been actualized. at VI xlviiil. the list is very close to Aristotle’s in Politics II). Cicero’s De re publica explicitly sets out to describe the best constitution (I xx 33). Polybius also explains why Plato’s . Despite his (and Aristotle’s) criticisms of Sparta and of all other existing . 13 At this point it will be objected that the fact that all these texts are referred to by later sources as is not enough to show that the authors themselves. at II i 3 and II xi 21-2. as well as explaining why Athens and Thebes are not contenders (VI xliii-xliv. Polybius examines the Spartan . Corinthians and Pellenians by Dicaearchus (so Cicero ad Atticum II ii) and a by Demetrius of Phalerum (DL V 80). Even if the latter is true. Pausanias is still conforming to the basic pattern of criticizing later decay from an originally ideal . thought of these texts as belonging to a determinate -kind of writing. usually Sparta. Cicero is following Polybius. and also Carthage (VI li-lii). Cicero contrasts his procedure. In some ways. Josephus discusses Sparta from a similar motive at Against Apion II 225-31. with further Spartan comparisons scattered elsewhere.8 STEPHEN MENN also of the Athenians. commonly linked with Sparta (Polybius argues that it is much worse). Josephus Against Apion II 220-24 says that while Plato’s and are generally regarded as unattainable by human nature. In substituting the of the Romans for the of the Spartans as the best. 13 Josephus’ of the Jews is Against Apion II 145-296 (Josephus coins the word “theocracy” to distinguish the Jewish from the standard Greek forms at II 165). with Plato’s. as does Cicero in the fragmentary De re publica II xxiii. No one will seriously maintain that Plato’s Republic was the generic model for all this literature. to show the superiority of the Roman. but then does so only by asserting that the best constitution is the constitution of the (preGracchan) Romans and describing that historical constitution (II i 2-3). describing the real Roman res publica. And it is indeed true _________ either Pausanias criticized the ephorate as a post-Lycurgan innovation. Josephus is emboldened to argue instead that the of the Jews (at some indefinite past time) was the best . the allegedly practiced in some actual city. what is striking is how little impact Plato had. particularly in the fifth century before it had become standard for authors to give titles for prose works. those which the Jews have actually practiced are more demanding. or he criticized Lycurgus for establishing the ephorate over and above the constitutional structure imposed on Sparta by the Delphic oracle. But the Spartan presumption remains strong enough that all these authors need to describe and contrast the of the Spartans in order to prove that not the Spartan but their preferred is the best. .

I ii 4046. . Lysander. even the most bizarre. in its way. being justified by the purpose that they all serve. is correct. The only anomaly is that. this in fact fits very closely with everything else we know about early theorizing about the . and similar arguments on one side or another.ON PLATO’S 9 that the references to Hippodamus. in the sense of being well calculated to preserve that bad . and that any title we did have for these texts might well be non-authorial. Phaleas.” And the pseudo-Xenophon is also. can be found in other texts. Mem. and the text is a good witness to what -writing looked like around the time of Plato’s birth. 15 and again 18). 14 _________ 14 Xenophon also assumes the threefold classification of . notably Isocrates’ Nicocles 12-26. doing what would be considered bizarre or shameful elsewhere. the other options being oligarchy and democracy. But we do not have to worry too much about titles of lost works. Similar classifications. all of their laws and customs are good. this one is equally rhetorical blame. Thibron. in the “constitutional debate” which Herodotus puts in the mouths of the Persian conspirators in Histories III 80-82. like the genuine Xenophon of the Spartans: both take up the hypothesis “the customs of the so-and-so’s are opposite to those of the rest of the Greeks. which explicitly sets out to show that monarchy (or even “tyranny”) is “the best of ” (12. We first meet such a classification. a speech of paradoxical praise. While the pseudoXenophon has a reputation as crude and un-intellectual. but I will show that each custom. the pseudoXenophon. Our earliest extant . into monarchy and oligarchy and the rule of the demos (though without the generic term ). this is not exactly a title. and be a deliberate twist on. and the particular customs designed to preserve that . But a work “on the worst ” seems to presuppose.” What is important for our purposes is that the pseudo-Xenophon assumes the theoretical distinction between the . with characterizations of each type and arguments about which is the best and about how stable they can be. while most of which we know were works of rhetorical praise. and Pausanias are not really to titles. begins with the words “ ”. which consistently argues that while the Athenians’ is bad (being rule by the worst people). works “on the best . and it sets the theme of the pamphlet. and texts in his Areopagiticus and especially Panathenaicus praising the “ancestral ” at Athens. classifiable by ruling group. but it is as close to a title as we can expect for a fifthcentury text. in the first sentence of the Cyropaedia and in Alcibiades’ conversation with Pericles about laws.

Isocrates Areopagiticus 14. Lysander’s text). Panathenaicus 138).” It has often been observed (notably in Cartledge 1987) that Xenophon takes more liberties with the truth in the Agesilaus than in the Hellenica (itself no paradigm of historical accuracy). Plato in Rep. .” and both. 15 A discussion was not necessarily a book: it might be merely part of a book (as in Herodotus). as “pamphlet literature”: that is. in more accurate or more fictionalized form. A of the so-and-so’s will give enough details of their actions to allow us to see their . I do not mean to restrict myself to whole books. Dicaearchus wrote a of Greece. probably. But certainly whole books. which speaks conjunctively of the Athenians’ and and (II xxxvi 4). IV 11. Polybius says that he will apply biographical (not historical) methods in his of the Romans (VI ii 5-6). some possible mode of collective life and governance. it might be spoken rather than written. VIII-IX. feel freer to take liberties with the truth of the details than history does. called or or or of the so-and-so’s. owing to a shared origin in rhetorical praise and blame. even when (as often) the accounts are parallel. and a of so-and-so will give enough details of his actions to allow us to see his . 544d6-e2). VII 1-3 argues that answers to the questions of the best for an individual and for a city go together. the locus classicus for the contrast between biography and history is Plutarch Alexander 1. or it might be written only as an aid to a political speech (as. _________ 15 The issues about ancient biography and its relations with other forms of writing (history and antiquarian writing) are complex and have been much discussed. A work might be a collection of lives of famous people. assumes a correspondence between and (see VIII. using the standard phrase. discussed in section IV below. The assimilation between and is perhaps already in Pericles’ funeral oration in Thucydides. and indeed it seems to have been a commonplace that “the is the of the city” (Aristotle Pol. I 1). and it is fair to describe them. Xenophon’s assumptions about the aims of -writing come through at Agesilaus I 6: “I think that from his deeds his too will best be shown. Lac. and in speaking of the discourse as a background to Plato and Aristotle. both contrast with “history.10 STEPHEN MENN There is a close analogy between and . 1295a40-b1. and the same is true for a . like the Spartans’ at Xenophon Resp. indeed. cp. were common enough. it is often assumed that the questions of the best and of the best are linked. A point of entry is Momigliano 1993. Aristotle Pol. as texts describing. are not simply general (abstracting from the details) but classificatory and evaluative. thus their collective way of life (posited as the inner cause of their external successes. but it is as likely to be a classification of the different and an argument about which is preferable.

that the Carthaginians and the Spartans are better governed than all others. 211-5 distinguishes. Lac. Jacoby 1949. I think he draws too great a distinction between his first two types. admits that the Spartans are the best governed of the Greeks. it is agreed. I that Lycurgus imitated no other city. arguing that kingship is the best . 18 At Panathenaicus 41 he says that “most people moderately praise the city of the Spartans. the supporters of the Spartans. try to turn instead to the issue of the . but argues that the Athenian “ancestral ” is better than the Spartan . “political ” (pamphlet literature like the pseudo-Xenophon and the Xenophon). avoidance) to a citizen body that must decide how to govern itself now. He takes it as agreed that the present Athenian democracy is bad. but are a correction of earlier texts that were pamphlet-literature as I have described it. and against the common claim (already at Herodotus I 65) that he imitated Crete. “philosophical ” (like Hippodamus’ and Plato’s. . and even texts with some other aim would be influenced by the standard praise of Sparta. or by him and the students who may have collaborated on his series of 158 ). admits that the Spartans are the best governed but argues that this is because they are the most democratic. 17 but argues that they are governed by kings when at war. he takes the of the Spartans (apart from Aristotle’s) as normative texts not intimately related to historical reality. and rightly.) 18 Perhaps the main division of the of the Spartans literature is into texts written for non-Spartans using historical or philosophical reasoning _________ 16 Aristotle’s are not themselves pamphlet-literature in this sense. against the claim of Xenophon Resp. including in the Nicocles passage. although it seems a poor idea to posit a genre with just one author. where. he describes Sparta as an oligarchy. and that Lycurgus in fact used it as his model. within the literary form of the . (Just how standard was the praise of the Spartan can be seen from the fact that Isocrates’ Nicocles 24. in the pseudo-Xenophon’s case. although of course Plato’s is much more reflective and sophisticated than the earlier texts.ON PLATO’S 11 proposed for emulation (or. while his Areopagiticus 61. 16 By far the favorite form were texts praising the of the Spartans. not primarily about some existing but seeking to determine the best ). paralleled in Aristotle’s writings on other topics. the Spartans come off well: so Isocrates investigates . 17 Or. with an emendation. a natural development. I am probably not substantively disagreeing with Jacoby on the relationship between the Aristotelian and the earlier texts (and Jacoby agrees that Aristotle’s are ultimately intended to subserve the construction of the best state). But Jacoby is not distinguishing of the soand-so’s as historical from without genitive as normative: on the contrary. being defeated by Isocrates’ arguments that the Athenians have benefited the Greeks and the Spartans have harmed them. arguing that [not the degenerate modern Athenian democracy but] the democracy of our glorious ancestors was the best . and “scientific ” (invented by Aristotle and in fact represented only by him. but some refer to it as if the demigods were there. elsewhere and with more truth. three .” At Panathenaicus 111.

and the references we have already noted in Plato. Diodorus Siculus XIV xiii 3 [from Ephorus] on Lysander trying to bribe the priestess at Delphi “considering that the Spartans especially paid heed to oracles”. in Laws IV to the difficulty of fitting the Spartan under any of the standard types. From the little we know about them. undoubtedly Sphaerus referred back to Pausanias at least to prove that the ephorate was a later deviation. and the Spartans were particularly impressed by oracles (so. while most other -of-the-Spartans literature was designed to support assimilation to a Spartan ideal at other cities. on Lysander’s text. if. he may also intend some Spartans to overhear. the most intelligent people there will pay attention. and since Cleomenes did in fact abolish the ephorate. and cp. for Pausanias. however. 19 Aristotle’s numerous references to earlier discussions of the . his of the Spartans presumably argued for a very different view of what that traditional was. were political pamphlets urging some present political aim (for Lysander. Spartans may have been better educated in Sphaerus’ day than in the fourth century). Although Xenophon is writing in the first instance for an Athenian or other non-Spartan audience. Since Sphaerus’ fellow-student Persaeus was the captain of the Macedonian garrison at Corinth defending the Peloponnese against Cleomenes.g.. like those of Lysander. which so far as we can tell (e. On the other hand. Plutarch Lysander 25. show that Plato and Aristotle were _________ 19 The Lysander and Pausanias. and in Republic VIII to the Spartan and Cretan “praised by the many” (praised certainly not by the democratic masses in Athens. These texts were designed to support radical change (presented as a return to a mythical past) at Sparta. but by most of those who theorize about such things). (However. cp. abolishing the ephorate) on the basis of arguments from alleged Spartan history. opening the kingship to those not born to it. it lies behind much of Plutarch’s Lycurgus) was very much in the tradition of other -of-the-Spartans literature. Sphaerus’ of the Spartans.12 STEPHEN MENN to present an idealized Spartan as a contrast with other and so as a possible model for reform elsewhere. both in FGrHist #583 T1). . Both Sphaerus and Persaeus would presumably have been writing (at least inter alia) for a Spartan audience. Undoubtedly the reason is that these works were meant to be read or heard at Sparta. relying often on oracles and legends to present an idealized past Spartan as a model for reform (presented as a return to a glorious past) at Sparta itself. like the rest of the -of-the-Spartans literature. as is generally thought. saying that while most Spartans will care no more what is said about them in Athens than at BACAP (“beyond the pillars of Heracles”). and inferred (or allowed it to be inferred) that the Spartan revolutionaries were dangerous innovators. Lysander and Pausanias seem to have been much more interested in arguments from oracles (FGrHist #582 T3 and Plutarch Lysander 25 in FGrHist #583 T1) than is the rest of the literature. Pausanias and Thibron. especially Athens. which generally treats the Delphic authorization of Lycurgus’ laws as a mere divine rubberstamp on Lycurgus’ work. so we cannot cleanly distinguish between literature for Spartans based on oracles and literature for Athenians and other Greeks based on sophistic and philosophical modes of reasoning. if not as a cynical fabrication by Lycurgus. was written in support of the revolutionary innovations (or “return to Lycurgus”) of Cleomenes III at Sparta. Isocrates Panathenaicus 250-51. but the distinction is far from absolute. and texts written for Spartans.

and the standard praise of Sparta. or as arguing. and this was supposed to be what Aristoxenus was thinking of. containing arguments for and against each of the standard (as in Herodotus). call up for their readers the expectations of this discourse. (If Protagoras had proposed such a utopia. When Aristoxenus said that “almost the whole of Plato’s was written in the of Protagoras” (DL III 38). so far as the question is raised at all. Why. are supposed to have been involved in the foundation of Thurii). I find it hard to imagine Protagoras as proposing utopias. on justice as a virtue. inviting their readers to judge their own new proposals against the background of the standard classification of . we would expect Aristotle to mention it in Politics II. so that. as also Hippodamus. which also lists two books of ). the standard evaluation of laws and customs as designed to preserve the . having first _________ 20 In the glory-days of Quellenforschung it used to be suggested that the debate in Herodotus was taken from Protagoras’ (especially since both Protagoras and Herodotus. then.” a title credited to Protagoras elsewhere (DL IX 55. standard topics. is what the Ecclesiazusae depicts. and commonplaces of praise and blame. not equality. in the other half of the . this suggests that Protagoras’ was just a section of his . naturally with the intention of creating something new. for the equality of women and men. I have no trouble at all imagining Protagoras arguing for the superiority of women—he would also have argued. he was doubtless being deliberately provocative. and perhaps for and against some more outlandish customs as well.ON PLATO’S 13 conscious of this existing mode of discourse . Juxtaposing the different extant texts will help to bring out this generic background and thus to shed light on many details in Plato. but he must have been thinking of something. when and if they wanted. 452a7-e3. against the common sense of the society of his time. V. and that they could. But it also used to be suggested that Protagoras’ book was the source of the utopian feminist constitution parodied in Aristophanes’ Ecclesiazusae. . Plato may well have taken over some arguments from Protagoras. 20 II. into a ? The standard answer.) On the other hand. whose ridicule may be referred to at Rep. did Plato choose to write a text in this mode—and why did he decide to modulate what starts out looking like a standard Socratic dialogue. is that Plato depicts the types of city in order to give larger-scale models of the types of soul. as well as from other earlier literature. It is curious that Aristoxenus does not say “in the . with its conceptual apparatus. for the superiority of men—and this.

where the rulers rule in their own interests. although. and it is at many points clear that Plato’s discussion of the different is engaging with earlier literature. as Bordes 1982 shows. DL IX 55).14 STEPHEN MENN discerned the justice and injustice “writ large” in the city as a whole. and the standard sophistic topic of the is first raised. and those actions are called just for the ruled. But even if all existing are Thrasymachean . Second and more importantly. where the _________ 21 Thrasymachus does not here use the word . Plato wants to show that a Socratic . Plato naturally finds it very important. others democratically. not to display the variability of laws and customs in support of a cultural-relativist challenge to morality. in Griffith and Ferrari 2000. and not simply imagining civic equivalents for different individual psychologies. we will be better able to discover the justice and injustice within the individual soul and so to respond to the challenge of Glaucon and Adeimantus (cf. as we will see. the issue of justice was already a political issue in Book I. to refute these claims of Thrasymachus and to give a positive alternative account of what justice is. Plato goes into far more detail about the different than would be needed simply to show the correspondence with each type of soul (what.” then the rulers will have no reason to limit their exploitation of the ruled by any objective norm of justice. but by Thrasymachus in Book I: “don’t you know that some cities are governed tyrannically. other aristocratically” (338d7-8). was the precursor of as a technical term (and this is probably its sense in Protagoras’ title . Rep. except fear or habit. II. the ruling part makes laws commanding actions that are advantageous to that ruling part. And Plato’s task in refuting Thrasymachus is made harder by the fact that he agrees with Thrasymachus about how laws are made in any of the three standard types of . He does however speak of (339a1). distinguished by their “ruling part” (d10)? 21 And Thrasymachus invokes the theory of . does the equality of women guardians in the ideal correspond to within the individual soul?). in the context of his Socratic dialogue on justice. and the ruled will have no reason. In the first place (as Ferrari rightly argues. . If this is the whole truth about “justice. to live either by what is called justice in their society. and. and of why rulers and ruled have reason to follow it. but as a specifically political challenge to justice. not by Socrates in Book II. xxiii). and fourth-century authors including Plato still sometimes use the term in this way. This answer seems to me to be clearly inadequate. for instance. or by any other kind of justice. 368c4-369a7). someone who sounds much like Thrasymachus elsewhere in Plato does use the word. In each city.

However. he will have refuted Thrasymachus. calling that dispensation of reason ‘law’ [etymologizing as ]” (713e8714a2). as is often thought. and it would be in the interest of the ruled to live by what the laws declare to be just. what is conventionally called just would be rooted in what is just by nature. becomes clearer in a parallel text from Laws IV. since it is no longer possible for us to be ruled by daimons as in the age of Kronos.” it seems strange to let his concerns. which will be important in interpreting the Republic. Starting at Laws IV. together with some references in Aristotle’s Politics. this just seems to push the problem back a step: why should Plato have introduced Thrasymachus and in the first place into the more typically Socratic and non-political discussion with Cephalus and Polemarchus? If Thrasymachus is just an eccentric (and. and his conspiracy theory of “justice. the best imitation of that is to be ruled not by one or more human beings. But this is not how Plato thinks of Thrasymachus: he thinks of him as the logical outcome of the standard sophistic theory of . Laws IV also suggests a Platonic strategy for responding to this theory. The connection between Thrasymachus and the sophistic theory of the . is possible. a number of possibilities are discussed. Plato decides to confront the difficulty head on: . and it assumes that it is possible to produce laws which simply reflect universal and impersonal dictates of reason. incoherent) “immoralist. especially.ON PLATO’S 15 rulers rule in the interest of the ruled. against the view that reason in legislating is instrumental to the interests of the human rulers of the . Laws IV. in such a .” dictate the development of the grand argument of the Republic. points us back to an early stage of -theory. Thrasymachus’ claim about the different types of and about what is called just in each is implicitly a modal claim. the Athenian Stranger and his Spartan and Cretan interlocutors are discussing what they should prescribe for their new city. as in a monarchy or oligarchy or democracy. against views that justice is relative to the type of . but by “as much of immortality [i. which may go back to Protagoras and which Plato sees as logically leading to Thrasymachus. 712b8-c1. about all possible and not merely about all actual ones.e. and it is proposed that. as well as displaying “writ large” what is just by nature. and he thinks that this theory has much empirical support in the actual conduct of the different cities. This of course contradicts the theory that every is a monarchy or oligarchy or democracy. which we can also see at work in the Republic. if Plato can show the possibility of his Socratic . of reason] as is in us. and. not made especially clear in Republic I.

is verbatim Thrasymachus’ formula at Rep. the account in Laws IV gives the proper context in -discourse for the claims which Plato puts in the mouth of Thrasymachus in Republic I. they should look toward the advantage of this [ ].16 STEPHEN MENN you know that some people say that there are as many forms [ ] of laws as there are of . whichever is established. especially since this theory has insisted that cities are ruled by one or more human beings rather than by laws. rather than to one or more human beings. it is a challenge to the concept of laws as dispensations of reason reflecting an objectively just order.. the advantage of the superior. but Plato thinks that. but it is at least as likely that he is just alluding to the views of a much broader class of people who theorize about and laws. and it is possible that Plato intends to allude to Thrasymachus here in the Laws. 714c2]. like the Spartan and Cretan laws] nor toward virtue as a whole.. (714b3-8) Now at first sight the commonplace sophistic thesis that there are as many forms of laws as of might not look so alarming. There is something distinctive and worth noting in the way that the “Thrasymachean” theory of Laws IV speaks about . Certainly Plato thinks that the “Thrasymachean” views of law and justice logically follow from a widely held theory of . democracy]? Consider that the present contest is not about something small. In any case. and likewise to speak of what is advantageous to the . It seems a bit odd to speak of a as “ruling” [ . The Athenian Stranger continues with the view of (apparently all of) the people who say there are as many forms of laws as of : they say that the laws should look neither toward warfare [= toward promoting military virtue. but about the greatest: for it has come back to us contested where one should look for the just and the unjust. (714b8-c6) This theory (as stated here and further spelled out 714d1-10) is certainly meant to be the same as that set out by the character Thrasymachus in the Republic (“the advantage of the superior. 338c2): it is possible that it was also the theory of the real person Thrasymachus. and that the character Thrasymachus in the Republic is intended to represent this broad group rather than anything peculiar to the real Thrasymachus. when its implications are spelled out. and we have just gone through how many forms of most people say there are [= monarchy. even if it was especially Thrasymachus who made the conclusion explicit. oligarchy. The explanation is that . and they say that the natural limit [or definition] of justice is most rightly expressed thus . I. and specifically to the Laws’ project of legislation aiming at promoting virtue in the citizens. and which he is concerned to reply to not only there but in the rest of the Republic. that it should rule forever and not be dissolved.” . but rather.

Plato does not reject this identification of the principles of legislation in the with the advantage of the ruling group. What is most striking (beyond the equation of and that we have already seen) is that Aristotle several times cites. This way of speaking about the turns up even in Aristotle—‘ ’ and ‘ ’ [= ruling body] mean the same thing. and each is called the power [ ] of its master” (712e10713a2). indeed. which helps to support the normative claims.” Laws IV. excluding the losers from any share in rule and continuing to exclude their descendants for fear of vengeance (715a4b2). but managements of cities which are masters and slaves in different parts of themselves. . and the legal duties [ ] which these people assert to exist. Aristotle seems to regard this theory as giving the default assumptions that he must modify. and must be a residue of an earlier way of thinking. 714c1-2). 832b10-c7. and the is what is sovereign [ ] in the cities. and either one or a few or the many must be sovereign” (Pol. “are not . which is surely not how he would treat an idiosyncrasy of Thrasymachus. and those who acted for the sake of some. and endorses. 1279a25-8. he also rejects the universal claim that this is the behavior of all actual and possible . thus the three standard forms of . Indeed. III 7. as an empirical description of the behavior of tyrannies. what his opponents describe has indeed happened all too often as a result of civil strife. having arisen through such winner-take-all conflicts. 1278b8-14)—although it is certainly inconsistent with Aristotle’s considered theory of the . He does reject the accompanying normative claims (the laws “should [ ] look toward the advantage of this [ ]. 22 The same stage of -theory that Plato criticizes here in Laws IV also seems to be alluded to in Aristotle’s Politics.ON PLATO’S 17 this theory does not really distinguish between the and the ruling group: for something to be advantageous to the is simply for it to be advantageous to the rulers. where the victors make everything belonging to the city their own. we call not citizens but civil warriors. and democracies. a formula very close to the one Plato had used as a summary of his opponents’ theory. we say are said in vain” (715b2-6). “but we say now that those are neither nor correct [ ] laws which they had made not for the sake of the whole city. he refuses to grant the honorific title of “ ” to any authority which does govern in this way. III 6. As the Athenian Stranger says. oligarchies. namely that there are as many forms of laws as _________ 22 Similarly at Laws VIII. cp.

and everyone does in fact lay down. VII 14. that justice in the sense of the political virtue (the virtue of the good citizen) is different in different . 1289a26-30). being the rule of the one. justice [ ] too must differ” (V 9. Hippodamus. the rule of the one or the few or the many in the interests of the rulers themselves. But Aristotle tries. as for the opponents. as Paul Cartledge says. and Aristotle is willing to infer. Still. Protagoras is said to have given the laws of the pan-Hellenic colony of Thurii. while accepting these premisses.) . Heraclides Ponticus in DL IX 50. by distinguishing moral from political virtue. 1279a22-b10. like Plato. or even that they are not but rather (implied Pol. would have seen training in the art of legislation as the highest part of his training of aspiring . 1289a11-15). For Aristotle. In part this is because he does not individuate the simply by its ruling group. and holding that the virtue of the good citizen and the virtue of the good person coincide only in the ideal . those who will hold the supreme offices must have “the virtue and justice in each which is : for if legal duty [ ] is not the same in all . 1333a3-6). 23 and he. especially because there was no one mother-city whose laws the Thurians could simply copy. so that preserving the does not mean simply preserving the given rulers in power. but then Aristotle would probably have said so in discussing him. and Aristotle. the laws ” and not the the laws” (IV 1. III 7. like Aristotle in the Politics. IV 2. III 11. the few or the many in the interests of the whole city. with the opponents. are distinct from tyranny and oligarchy and democracy. Thus “it is clear that the laws must be laid down ” (Pol. The Prota- of _________ 23 Although on a dubious authority. and who better than Protagoras? (Well. someone must have done it. It seems very likely that this pre-Aristotelian and pre-Platonic theory of justice and laws and is in fact due to Protagoras. Aristotle also tries to avoid the implication that justice and other virtues are relative to the . kingship and aristocracy and “ ” proper. will say that tyranny and oligarchy and democracy are not right [ ] (Pol. and so an aristocracy (say) will not be preserved if the same group continue to rule but in pursuit of different ends. to say that the legislator should legislate is to say that he should institute whatever practices tend to preserve the . 1282b10-11). 1309a36-9). In particular. “it belongs to this same prudence [which studies the different ] to know both the best laws and the laws which fit with each of the : for one should [ ] lay down.18 STEPHEN MENN . to modify the theory so as to avoid the “Thrasymachean” conclusions.

Aristotle Rhet. whatever things appear to each city to be just and fine are so for that city. For things to “appear” just and fine to a city is simply for the city to have a law or decree enjoining those things. which is disease in the whole city. When you summon Protagoras. 705e3-706a4. For not everything that people desire turns out well for them. A patient may desire certain foods and find them sweet. they will be harmful to his health. and for something to be just is simply for it to be in accordance with the law. so one custom is . and whatever you forbid will be unjust. Plato speaks here equally of the better laws as being “advantageous” to the city [ . So too for some customs which the city may desire today. 714b8-d3. but while all laws are equally “true. you must first of all know the target that legislation aims at [cp.” some are better and more useful. I 3. and the Protagorean orator or legislator will replace worse laws with better ones. 1358b20-25). But what customs are advantageous? Again. and what you therefore do in your city. as the doctor replaces worse perceptions with better ones. but the wise man has made good/useful things both appear and be for each of them in place of wretched ones” (167c2-7). Protagoras 334a3-c6]. this is because they think that he will be better able than they to determine what laws will be most advantageous for them: they set the end. But you should have a care that what you command and enact as just. etc. 172a5-6.. you should not aim at commanding what is just and forbidding what is unjust: for there is nothing just or unjust by nature. Laws IV. 338c2ff]. the legislator may know that they will be harmful and lead to civil strife. as the perceptions of healthy person are better and more useful than those of a sick person. and whatever you command will be just in your city. but everything is advantageous or harmful according to different circumstances and for different cities: just as one diet is advantageous for a phlegmatic person and another for a bilious person [cp. as in Laws IV. few or many sovereign in a city summon Protagoras (or one of his students) to help them make laws. In making laws for your city.]. for as long as it practices/deems/legislates [ ] them. and he will find everything bitter tomorrow.ON PLATO’S 19 goras of the Theaetetus explains that “wise and good orators make good/useful [ ] things appear [ ] to be just in place of wretched ones. and yet the doctor may know that if he takes them. but everything is just or unjust according to different circumstances and for different cities. he will presumably say something like this: “When you set out to legislate well. will also be advantageous. you must know that there is nothing advantageous by nature. and he determines the best means (the is in general the aim of discussion in deliberative assemblies. b1. I. and Thrasymachus at Rep. When the one. with different examples.

to restrain them in exploiting those they rule. (While modern readers tend to sympathize with Alcibiades. That is always harmful which leads to civil strife.) The pseudo-Xenophon of the Athenians accepts some. and if those conventions are made with a view to the advantage of the conveners. If what is just is what is in accordance with law. but as the merely conventional. not as civilization to savagery. and another for a democracy. and not eat one another like the beasts.e. but not all. and if laws do not reflect nature but are freely enacted agreements or conventions. beyond the fear of provoking a revolution. and they used to praise law and the common covenants which allow us to live together in civil peace. I ii 40-46. he had no sinister political agenda. In the good old days—so Plato might say—the Greeks used to despise the tyrant.” as Plato says.” i. Wise legislators in every city have taken this as their aim. and that is always advantageous which preserves the .. unrestrained by law and justice.20 STEPHEN MENN advantageous for a monarchy. the man who ruled over his fellow-citizens “despotically. or an individual who aspires to a political career (and thus wishes to acquire political virtue) in any of the different .” If Protagoras said something like this. the preservation of their own rule. then. but a travelling educator and political advisor who had to be useful to each of his clients. and if this advantage is chiefly the preservation of the . and this is why. you must not simply imitate what is just and advantageous elsewhere. Now. not necessarily successfully. of the sovereign whether one or many. another for an oligarchy. 715b6 above) by their rulers. whether a sovereign individual or group that might ask him to make laws. and this is why different things are lawful and just in monarchical and in oligarchic and in democratic cities. Laws IV. But what begins as value-neutral social science may have sinister political implications. but must take counsel that you enact what will be advantageous here. law and justice give the rulers no reason. of the amoralist conclusions of the Protagorean theory of : the author . as we have seen above. 24 In the days of Solon and Tyr- _________ 24 This line of thought is beautifully illustrated in Alcibiades’ conversation with Pericles about laws. in making laws for your city. to show that this is not what he learned from Socrates. taught by Protagoras and his kind. CLX-CLXIX. Protagoras was neither a democrat nor an antidemocrat. Xenophon Mem. they contrast law to nature. and they suspect the laws of an oligarchy or even a democracy of serving the partisan interests of the conveners. that is. as a master over slaves. that Xenophon is horrified by him and is trying. and the ruled have no reason except fear of punishment to follow the so-called legal duties decreed (“in vain. that is. I agree with Dorion in Bandini and Dorion 2000. much like the decrees of a tyrant.

that is to say of . XV 7 (cp. of the . where the Athenian asks whether a god or a man is responsible for the laws of Sparta and Crete. or even of (evaluative) language. and each is called the power [ ] of its master” (Laws IV. such as that imposed by Solon to head off at Athens. and at Sparta the oaths between king and city are ritually renewed every month. some man” (716c4-6). as they say. with the ephors standing in for the city. the Athenians and Spartans could agree in praising the rule of law and condemning despotic rule. governed by laws which reflect not the advantage of human rulers but rather the rule of Kronos.) . I. 624a1-6. overthrowing the democratic . and would be true in a real . or were afterwards remembered as having been so sworn. he argues that tyranny and oligarchy and democracy “are not . what would a _________ thinks that there are objective standards of human goodness. and what law and justice in it would be. but then the anti-tyrannical movement split into oligarchic and democratic factions: the democrats accuse the oligarchs too of ruling despotically—for what does it matter whether the people are enslaved to one or to several masters?—while the oligarchs accuse the of ruling as arbitrarily and lawlessly and irrationally and hubristically as a collective tyrant (this line of thought already at Herodotus III 81. rule over fellow-citizens with rule over slaves. in an unusual alliance. but rather than identifying with . Lac. justice and good government. in a real . if all actually existing are Thrasymachean . or the “Lycurgan” social contract at Sparta: these social contracts were originally sworn by the oath of all the citizens.” the is right to act in its own interests and contrary to these objective standards (so I 4-9). but that since these would lead to the “good” people ruling in their own interests. 25 Compare the opening of the Laws. as I put the question above.ON PLATO’S 21 taeus. much more than. Plato agrees too. and indeed enslaving the “bad. according to Xenophon Resp. and when the Peisistratids were overthrown they were in concert. Herodotus’ debate does not include an explicit democratic critique of oligarchy). 25 This puts the burden on Plato to explain what a real would be like. and concludes that tyranny and oligarchy and democracy are despotisms alike. but managements of cities which are masters and slaves in different parts of themselves. Social contract theories generalize such events and project them back onto the first origin of law. By contrast. and concluding that law and justice are merely a mask for partisan interests. 2 Kings 23:1-3). “god would be for us most of all the measure of all things. and that they do not enact correct laws or real . It should be stressed that both benign and sinister Greek social contract theories begin from real social contracts. (This passage is stressed. both by Strauss 1975 and by Burnyeat 1997. Thrasymachus agrees with them all. and Cleinias and Megillus both say a god: this is at least believed to be true in Sparta and Crete. 712e10-713a2 above).

the Spartan betrayal of the Greeks of Asia Minor in the King’s Peace. VIII. asks them which of these types their own home in Sparta and Crete would fall under. then the experience of Lysander and the Thirty. the Athenian says that the reason the Spartan and Cretan have difficulty classifying their in the standard scheme is that _________ 26 I will say more about this below. in order to show them that there are other alternatives. and they are unable to answer: the Spartan and Cretan share some distinctive features with each of the given types (and the Spartans also have kings). . 26 Sparta plays a much more explicit part in the Laws— which features the only Spartan and the only Cretan in Plato. would have convinced them. Athenian conservatives could of course still choose to believe that an earlier uncorrupted Sparta remained a good model. 27 Instead. The interlocutors assume that the choice must be between aristocracy. when the Athenian stranger asks what we should prescribe for our new colony. in understanding the strategy of the Republic. Here let me note that the passage of time between the composition of the Republic and of the Laws is not in itself a reason to expect Plato’s attitude to Sparta to have changed. the Spartan seizure of the Theban citadel and the attempted seizure of the Piraeus. While Sparta and Crete have been subject to examination beginning in Book I of the Laws.” that the standard types are idealizations and that we should expect to encounter many shades of gray between them. if it is a . Here Sparta helps. by comparison and contrast. talking with Plato’s Athenian spokesman about the laws for a new Dorian colony—and I think the Laws can help. oligarchy and democracy (since tyranny. they are brought up again in Book IV. Isocrates wrote his most pro-Spartan piece. against the peculiar view that it took the defeat at Leuctra in 371 to convince Athenian conservatives that the Sparta of their own time was no model. III. and so on. for mixed constitutions (although not with the precise term which later becomes technical) see Thucydides VIII 97 and the Laws itself. 544c8-d4. after Leuctra and Mantinea. Sparta enters the argument in rather different ways in the Republic and the Laws. 27 For intermediates between the ideal types see Rep. the Archidamus. but the Athenian stranger. 693d2-e3. but I do not think Plato’s real attitude toward it has changed much. If someone was going to be convinced by historical events.22 STEPHEN MENN Socratic . ruled in accordance with knowledge and in the interests of the ruled (or of the whole city rather than of its ruling part) be like? III. the imperial arrogance which led to the Spartans’ alienating their Theban and Corinthian allies and driving them into the arms of Athens and Persia. is clearly a bad one). Plato could now give a minimalist solution by saying that the Spartans and Cretans have “mixed .

and Lycurgus and Minos. 631c5-d1). and while the Laws does not flatly call the Spartan or Cretan “bad and erring” as the Republic does (V. by contrast with the laws of all the other so-called as described in Book IV. to say that these are really is not to say that they are good . it appears that Lycurgus and Minos have legislated looking only to courage or military virtue. the Athenian explains that. which aim merely at preserving the power and advantage of the ruling group (these laws contrasted with laws aiming at virtue. here too Plato is sharply critical of their (mythical) lawgivers Lycurgus and Minos. asks the Cretan about the purpose of some particular Cretan customs. 449a2-3. 28 whereas the ones we have just now named are not ” (712e9-10)—as he explains in a text we have already cited. an “accurate lawgiver” must “legislate the things of war for the sake of peace. which is less important for happiness than wisdom and temperance and genuine justice (630a7-d1. and all the other so-called “goods.. for a city as for an individual. When the Athenian. without justice. at the beginning of the dialogue.ON PLATO’S 23 “you really do belong to . the Spartan agrees and indeed says that any Spartan would agree (c45). On the face of it. 29 But Plato _________ 28 Using the language of . and war merely a necessary means to them. this implies that the Spartan and Cretan lawgivers have gone badly wrong. ] of a well-governed [ ] city . covering all four deviant forms).. VIII. The Spartan and Cretan (or “the Spartan and Cretan ” in the singular. 714b8-c4). The Athenian argues that this is misguided. rather than of health or wealth. as peace and friendship are the best things for a city. the Cretan replies that “the lawgiver of the Cretans arranged all our public and private lawful practices with a view to war” (626a5-7). Happiness [ ]. as Rep. recognizing this. but Plato tries to find a way of praising them. 660d11-661d4. and that. IV.” including external goods but also courage. rather than the things of peace for the sake of war” (628d7e1). have arranged all their laws with a view to instilling virtue in the citizen-body (631b3-d6. depends primarily on the possession of virtue. and indeed that “the mark [or goal. they are forms of despotic rather than of political rule (712e10-713a2). [is] that it must live ordered in such a way as to defeat the other cities in war” (b7c2). to be citizens or belong to the citizen body or have a share in the civic life and its rights and duties. can . no life can be happy. However. a2-4). Unfortunately. 29 At Laws II. 544c2-3 puts it) are thus important to Plato as counterexamples to the reductionist ProtagoreanThrasymachean theory of . at least as their work is commonly understood.

but only with gaining other people’s possessions by violence. 642d3-a1). the Athenian democracy. is represented as a sad warning of the excesses of freedom. spontaneously [ ] by divine allotment [ ] truly and without artifice good. and Socrates says something similar about Glaucon and Adeimantus at Rep. unlike most other Spartans. and. 642b2-d2. II. (But Isocrates does not seem to take the Platonic line of denying that the Spartans genuinely benefit themselves in this way). the Spartan character turns out to be a hereditary of the Athenians at Sparta. the Athenian stranger serves as a stand-in for Plato himself. 30 Cp. 30 It is this hypothesis that leads the three characters into their collective examination of laws. Compare Isocrates Panathenaicus 182-88.” 31 At Laws III. 100b2-4. that this is not the fault of Lycurgus or Minos but of their modern interpreters: Lycurgus and Minos were in fact aiming at complete virtue and not merely at its least important part (630c1-631a8). arguing against those who praise the Spartans that victories won without justice are not properly speaking virtuous or noble and should not be praised. 368a5-7. where Lycurgus mandates the practice of “all the virtues. and that the Spartans have never had any concern with justice or with virtue properly so called. VII.g. and the Athenian stranger challenges his interlocutors to give an interpretation of the Spartan and Cretan laws that would reveal them as a rational system designed to promote virtue (632d1-e7). 739a1-b7. 698a9-701e8. or pretends. these rather than the other will be the natural starting-points to _________ only make it worse. 520a9-b4 which also uses “ ”. 31 who has the philosophical and mathematical knowledge which the Spartans and Cretans are sadly lacking. Lac. Xenophon Resp. in the Meno Pericles and the like have their virtue .24 STEPHEN MENN argues. The Spartan and Cretan interlocutors serve as stand-ins for the Laconizing intended reader whom Plato hopes to persuade. and designed to lead an admirer of a charitably reinterpreted Laconizing ideal to the revised version of that ideal which Plato presents as the laws of his imaginary new Dorian colony and as a model to be adapted (V. Rep. . But at Laws I. a passage I will return to below. the good Athenian by contrast to the usual products of the democracy. the Cretan (and presumably also the Spartan) is politely unconvinced. even if it is a militaristic and unphilosophical conception of virtue.” (This is close to Plato’s descriptions elsewhere of good people arising spontaneously or even miraculously in bad environments. The interlocutors of the Laws are thus types of the Laconizer who might be amenable to Athenian philosophical persuasion. X 4.) The Cretan character then chimes in that he too has old family connections with Athens (Laws I. e. and the Spartans and Cretans aim at virtue. 745e7-746d2) by lawgivers elsewhere. involving many criticisms of particular Spartan or Cretan practices. But if all other existing cities aim only at the advantage of their rulers. particularly as it has become since the Persian wars. is full of good will toward Athens: “those Athenians who are good are especially so … for only they are.. without compulsion.

Aristotle seems to be making just this criticism of the Republic in a passage that we have cited from Politics II 1. both the ones practiced in certain cities that are said to be well-governed [ ].ON PLATO’S 25 criticize and reinterpret and try to reshape if we are looking for the best (or even the second. the timocracy is ruled by . tyranny and oligarchy and democracy. since the Spartiates do not rule in accordance with knowledge. where we must “examine the other . but where it is also said to be. before going on to give his positive proposals. Aristotle thus devotes Politics II to showing what is wrong with the proposals of Plato and Phaleas and Hippodamus and with the Spartan and Cretan (and for good measure Carthaginian) and with the “ancestral ” at Athens. For the Republic too the Spartan and Cretan . while these other are governed by appetite. not just to draw on what they have got right. but also to show that we ourselves are seeking a further not arbitrarily but “because the ones that now exist are not right” (b34-5). and so he does not avail himself of the Laws’ strategy for bringing admirers of other along with his argument. even satirized. Plato does not do this explicitly in constructing the ideal city in Books II-VII. the models praised by different earlier writers. However. here as in the Laws.or third-best. Plato thus needs to consider in what ways this would need to be modified to make it Socratic. has the value of a counterexample. when it is sharply criticized. either for the best absolutely or for the best under certain conditions. is superior to the so-called that Thrasymachus talks about in Book I. which values the noble even if it may not have an adequate conception of the noble. of all the “bad and erring” . I think it is correct to say that in the Republic too Plato constructs his ideal by beginning with Sparta (not the real Sparta but the idealized Sparta of Laconizing literature) and modifying it as necessary. So the Spartan . but it is not a Socratic either. It is not a merely Thrasymachean . nor do they rule in the interests of the ruled. in the terms of Republic VIII. which values only pleasure. most strikingly in abolishing the family and private property for the guardians. and any others that particular people have described and thought to be right” (1269b29-32). 739a1-b7) . Nonetheless. This is precisely what Plato . So while the character Socrates is constructing the best he is not explicitly pointing out what is wrong with other real or imagined . the timocracy. and its ideal is further from Sparta than is the ideal of the Laws. or how these might fail to meet their own intended aims. The Republic proceeds rather differently. the closest to the good and correct one. Indeed. V. The Spartan is not thematized until Book VIII. notably the perioeci and helots.

the fact that Plato criticizes Sparta and Athens only after he has presented his own ideal can make it harder to follow what he is doing in constructing his ideal. this assumption is strongly confirmed by Plato’s characterizations of the interlocutors. The similarities between the Callipolis and the Spartan ideal are fairly obvious. or at least of the specifically political project of the Republic. we might assume that Plato’s intended reader would initially expect the developing ideal to resemble Sparta. explaining both the defects of the timocracy and the good features that it retains from the Callipolis. more to our present point. And. where he constructs the ideal city out of the raw materials of human nature without explicit reference to other cities. and turns to savage criticism of the Spartan and Athenian ideals only in Book VIII.26 STEPHEN MENN has not done in the Republic. What Plato presents in Republic VIII as the story of the decay of the Callipolis into the timocracy. probably after most readers have stopped reading. especially Glaucon.” Fr. we must understand the ideal as emerging from a process of correction of the inadequacies of the (real or imagined) that people ordinarily admire. and the ideal must be read backwards from Book VIII: it is only by seeing the contrasts between Callipolis and the other that Plato draws in Book VIII that we understand why he has built certain features into Callipolis in the first place. Aristotle’s complaint is that this makes it more difficult to motivate the reader who may be satisfied with the existing . . just as the Cretan Clinias and the Spartan Megillus are stand-ins for the intended reader of the Laws. and by their interventions when Socrates’ exposition goes too hard against their expectations (and by their non-intervention when it does not): Glaucon and Adeimantus are stand-ins for the intended reader of the Republic. In a sense Book VIII delivers the punchline of the Republic. it is most immediately by modifying the Spartan . Nonetheless. Furthermore. showing both what features it kept from the Spartan ideal and what features Plato found it necessary to change. and that. can be read in reverse as the story of the generation of Plato’s ideal. (Dicaearchus says that Plato “mixed Socrates no less with Lycurgus than with Pythagoras. and have been pointed out since antiquity by those who have viewed Plato as a Laconizer. if Plato constructs Callipolis by modifying other . 45 in Mirhady 2001. which according to Book VIII is the first degeneration of the Callipolis and has the most in common with it. As we will see. as in the Laws. in the Republic as more explicitly in the Laws and Politics. given the Laconizing background of the -genre. it would be the differences from Sparta (or from Sparta as usually imagined) that would be foregrounded and would be interpreted by the reader against that background expectation.

This does not seem to have been a standard way of describing in general: rather. 99 may be right that the treatise distinguishes “Sparta” from “Lacedaemon” as nouns. for Plato the rulers and auxiliaries—I will say “guardians” for both) which is forbidden to engage in trade or production and devotes itself full-time to military and civic activity and to various forms of training. keeps almost complete silence about the helots and perioeci (“perioeci” mentioned once incidentally. allowing them to maintain their collective freedom and happiness) rather than the details of execution.) 32 One way to collect similarities is to compare Plato’s descriptions of the ideal city with Xenophon’s of the Spartans. “slaves” three times incidentally but “helots” never. which was far from being true. Lac. and propose to give the rulers a mathematical and dialectical training beyond the common education that they get along with the auxiliaries. XV 3. Xenophon cannot intend “Lacedaemonians” to include the perioeci [especially at XIV 2 this would make no sense]. I 3 is apparently following Critias’ of the Spartans DK88 B32 in saying that we must begin with the generation of offspring. and Plato too first introduces the guardians as military specialists (Republic II. the best sample we have of the early Laconizing literature. Lac. Lycurgus 31. Lac.” Resp. contra Lipka. Resp. Both in Xenophon and in Plato. 33 Actually Xenophon’s Resp. Lac. X 4). but.ON PLATO’S 27 Plutarch says that “Plato and Diogenes and Zeno. it is particularly appropriate for describing Sparta (as the Laconizers imagined it) and Cal- _________ 32 Although the here seems to be the goal (the persistence of the citizens in a life of virtue and concord. Both Xenophon’s and Plato’s ideal cities have an elite population (for Xenophon the Spartiates. XI-XIII manage to give the strong impression that the Spartan army was composed entirely of Spartiate full citizens. though Xenophon uses the word in other texts). and all who are praised for having undertaken to say something about these matters” took over Lycurgus’ plan [ ] for the . while the producers are excluded from political life. proceeding in roughly chronological sequence through their life-cycle (Xenophon Resp. 373e-374e) and describes the temperament and education they will need to fulfill that function well— only later does he distinguish the guardians into rulers and auxiliaries. so we must fill in information about them from other sources.”) . much of the account of the is devoted to the education of the elite at different stages of their life. 33 While Xenophon may stress the military function of his elite more than Plato does. Xenophon’s main emphasis is not on military activity but on the all-encompassing training for virtue that occupies the whole life of the elite (Lycurgus “compelled all [the Spartiates] to practice all the virtues publicly. Plato defers this to Book V). and I have had no scruples in translating the word as “Spartans. Plutarch’s picture of Lycurgus’ goals is of course itself influenced by Platonic and Stoic ideals. (Lipka 2002.

the stratification of society into different age-classes. but live collectively and are subject to a common state education (cf. sharing much of their daily activities and subordinated to older groups. echoed Laws VI. 424bff on the guardians guarding over education much more than over contracts and lawsuits and the like). as ordinary cities do. 464e-465a. presided over by elder persons of authority. Xenophon IV 6). Xenophon accepting traditional marriage but allowing or requiring citizens to have sex with other citizens’ wives for eugenic reasons. . Rep. while they must yield to their elders (Rep. Xenophon II 1-2 on education governed not by a slave appointed by the parents. Both in Xenophon and in Plato the children of the elite are not left under the control of their parents. V. first in producing appropriate offspring (by eugenic regulation.28 STEPHEN MENN lipolis. For Xenophon the common life and common discipline of each age-class of the citizenry applies primarily to the males. in a particularly bizarre parallel. Both in Xenophon and in Plato. becomes more important than the division into different households (which Plato entirely abolishes). 459e3 speaks of the “herd [ ] of guardians. adult members of the elite remain under a strict military discipline and are required to eat in common messes. the elite citizens remain subject to a common discipline. in both of which the whole civic life is geared toward forming the desired type of human beings. 460c1-3 for the “rearing pen” [ ] established in a separate part of the city where the young are brought to be raised. but he does stress that Lycurgus imposed at least a common gymnastic discipline for the women as _________ 34 Note also that Republic V. it does not leave reproduction or education to the whims of private individuals. 765d4-766b1. and both sharply limit the opportunities for sexual intercourse (Xenophon I 5). IV. Both for Xenophon and for Plato. and for Xenophon by the regimen observed by the women) and then in educating them at each stage.” using the word used by Ephorus (FGrHist #70 F149 = Strabo X iv 20) for the Cretan boys and by Plutarch (Lycurgus 16) also for the Spartan boys. and cp. but strictly regulates them and indeed carries out much of the process publicly and collectively. both Plato and Xenophon are particularly concerned with regulating the ages of the parents). Republic V. Both Xenophon and Plato eugenically regulate the production of offspring (Plato abolishing permanent marriages for the guardians and having the state fix temporary marriages for eugenic reasons. but by one of the highest magistrates. I 6-9. 34 Indeed. not only in childhood but at every stage of their lives. both Xenophon and Plato encourage their young people to get into physical fights with each other (so they have to stay fit). cp. Because the makes this its aim.

written in the service of the revolutionary/”restorative” program of Cleomenes III—may itself have been influenced by Plato’s Republic and Laws. may under some circumstances have sex with each other’s wives for eugenic reasons. “being in between. dogs and horses. and of the same people. and will also have something peculiar to itself” (Rep. since some of the literature he draws on—perhaps especially the Stoic Sphaerus’ of the Spartans. with the citizen males spending as much time as possible collectively in public space. the common life of the Spartiates extends to common rights of use of each other’s property: they may use each other’s slaves. 35 (If we turn to Plutarch’s Lycurgus we find yet other features in common with Plato: girls exercising naked like the boys. and were originally not harsh toward the helots [that came only after the revolt of 464!]. in addition. VIII. brings both girls and boys. of course. and if the girls and women are subjected to the same discipline. and the private house with attached agricultural land and slaves) for the guardians. However. well aware of these similarities between Callipolis and the Laconizers’ Sparta.. under the same discipline. women and men. the social effect of differences of wealth is minimized by requiring all to eat the same food in the common messes and by prohibiting the elite from owning gold or silver. the may have little remaining role.e. so that they will all say “mine” and “thine” of the same things. may command and even beat each other’s children as if they were their own. 805e7-806c7). with much emphasis on songs of praise and blame. Plato’s ideal ] in some respects and the oligarchy in others. rather desperate claims that the laws were originally intended for virtue in general rather than specifically for warfare. But even in Xenophon the boys in their groups and the men on military duty and in their common messes spend very little time on their private estates. a strongly egalitarian picture of the life of the Spartiate citizens. 35 .ON PLATO’S 29 well (I 3-4). see Cartledge 2001. will imitate the prior [i. For Xenophon. and in that its fighting element abstains from farming and handicrafts and _________ On the limited role of the Spartan . a musical and even intellectual component to the education. Plato.) Plato is. as we have seen. 547d1-2): it will agree with the best “in honoring the magistrates/rulers. Plutarch is not necessarily an independent witness to the Laconizing tradition. radicalizes this by entirely abolishing the (the household as family. The timocracy. who explicitly criticizes the Spartans for not regulating the women citizens as much as the men (Laws VII. Plato. and. In some cases he explicitly says that some practice is retained from the best when it degenerates into a timocracy. obviously.

like boys running away from their father the law. That means that Plato has taken these features from what people say about Sparta. where they may expend them. And the will “be afraid to call wise people to the magistracies/positions of power . since they honor it and cannot acquire it openly. and devote themselves to war and to guarding [their slaves]” (547b8-c4). like those in oligarchies. and will incline to spirited [ ] and simpler people. continue to own private houses and estates and an unfree workforce. the elite of the timocracy. having been educated not by persuasion but by violence. those who are naturally disposed more to war than to peace. since they possess storehouses and private treasuries where they can put [gold and silver] to hide them. And Plato has decided that these are bad features of the Spartan ideal. who correspond to the guardians of Callipolis (no longer ruled by philosophers specially selected from among them) and are imagined as arising out of them. and wildly honoring gold and silver under cover of darkness. They will no longer renounce private possessions. it will hold in honor the plots and deceptions of war and spend its whole lifetime at war. that the Spartan is designed for war and values war as an end in itself and as a means to keeping the subject population enslaved rather than as a means to protecting the “musical” pursuits of peaceful leisure. and that it chooses and trains its leaders for warlike virtues rather than for “musical” or philosophical wisdom.30 STEPHEN MENN other moneymaking. and in establishing common messes in devotion to gymnastics and to training for war” (547d4-8). lavishing much on women and on whoever else they want” (548a5-b2).. keep them as perioeci and servants. but “distribute and privatize [ ] the land and the houses. and. and also possess enclosed dwellings. and has decided that he approves of them and wishes to preserve them in his ideal . they have neglected what belongs to the true Muse who is associated with discourse and philosophy. despite how much they share and their renunciation of leisure and luxury. verily private nests. despite the official prohibition of most moneymaking activities and presumably of the possession of gold and silver. On the other hand. “they are sparing of money. since. “these people will be desirous [ ] of money/possessions. it will have most of these [features] peculiar to itself” (547e1-548a3). and must be changed to yield an acceptable Socratic . will fall short in their devotion to musical and then even to gymnastic training (546d68). enslaving those whom they previously guarded as free friends and nourishers [= the producers of Callipolis]. enjoying pleasures in secret. Finally. but on account of they are fond of spending other people’s [money].. and . That means that Plato notes that even the idealized Spartiates.

for Xenophon. whereas Lysander wanted to make the kingship elective and Pausanias wanted to abolish the ephorate. The difference is that. but now there are some who even pride themselves on having it” (XIV 2-3). this is an inexplicable decay from the days when the Spartans lived by Lycurgus’ laws. is supposed to be a key to that permanence. but for the “Lycurgan” values of his patron Agesilaus. to the failure of its educational system to instill the right ideals (even Xenophon implicitly admits that the ideals had not been fully internalized.ON PLATO’S 31 have honored gymnastics prior to music” (548b4-c2). Here again Plato is drawing on what is commonly said about Sparta. but. see Dorion 2002. as Plutarch tells us.) Xenophon also stresses the importance of the in forming the Spartans’ character and their spontaneous obedience to their laws and magistrates. defecting from the official Spartan ideals and towards the behavior of rich ruling elites elsewhere. in of the Spartans XIV. Resp. and this seems also to be an important part of his ideal of Spartan kingship. that “previously the Spartans chose to live together at home with modest possessions rather than [as now] to be flattered and corrupted serving as harmosts in the [subject] cities. since he claims not that in the old days the Spartans were not desirous of gold or did not possess gold. the contract between the king and the city. Indeed. and so on. and the contrast with Plato. traces back what is wrong with present-day corrupt Sparta to a deficiency in the original Lycurgan ideal. Even as consistent a Laconizer as Xenophon. limiting the king by law. Lipka 2002. Xenophon stresses the obedience of the hereditary kings to the ephors. that only the Spartan kingship has remained unchanged and other Spartan magistracies have not. Xenophon is arguing not simply for the Spartan . 36 Plato. if the timocracy begins by _________ On the comparison with the end of the Cyropaedia. XV stresses that the king and his contract with the city. and Agesilaus was exceptional in having done so (Plutarch Agesilaus 1. Lac. by contrast with the values of Lysander and perhaps also of Pausanias. says that the Spartans these days no longer observe the laws of Lycurgus. The polemics of chapter XIV against the corruption of the harmosts and the new influx of gold from the Spartan empire seem to be directed specifically against Lysander and his partisans. see Cartledge 1987.” that “previously they were afraid to be caught possessing gold. as is sometimes said. but only that they were afraid to be caught with it. but Xenophon finds nothing wrong in the ideals themselves). this is supposed to support Xenophon’s general argument that Lycurgus’ laws were the cause of the Spartans’ success. by contrast. and show the private behavior of the Spartan elite. These are features that timocracy shares with oligarchy. 34). when not under public scrutiny. have remained unchanged since the days of Lycurgus. Spartans kings did not usually go through the . and cp. whose he may well be answering. and this seems to be implicitly polemical against anyone who maintains that any of these institutions are post-Lycurgan corruptions. 36 . represented especially by the ephors. but rather that only the Spartan has remained unchanged and the of other cities have not. (XV 1 [and its parallel Xenophon Agesilaus I 4] mean not. and explains why the other Greeks now resent the Spartans.

” this must be Pausanias the regent of the 470’s. and one ought not to think a city happy. not because they do not agree with people elsewhere that external things are the greatest of goods. such as Panathenaicus 188. But the timocracy remains a . oligarchy and democracy and tyranny.VII 15. because it is not ruled simply for the economic advantage of its rulers. VII 14. 37 On the difficulty of distinguishing “Messenians” from “helots” see Figueira 1999. and it is no surprise if this leads to covert valuing of individual as well. or praise its legislator.” Isocrates consistently associates the Spartans with (Busiris 20.e. Plataicus 19-20. ruling them as a master rules slaves and not as a citizen magistrate rules free fellowcitizens. 1334a40-b4: the Spartans practice virtue. and it is important for Socrates’ argument against Thrasymachus to show that this is possible. The point is well made by Aristotle: just as most people esteem despotic rule [i. Jacoby FGrHist #582 T2 actually brackets “king” as an interpolation.. because the Spartans rule despotically over the perioeci and especially the helots.. Panathenaicus 241 and 243 [this last text praising Spartan ]. 1333b16-35) 38 It follows that the Spartan is not a Socratic . 37 then it is valuing collective . 38 Despite the word “king. rule as of a master over slaves] over many people because it brings a great supply of the goods of fortune.32 STEPHEN MENN enslaving its workforce. but because they think that these are best acquired through “some kind of virtue. (Pol. Plato had said earlier that every city other than his ideal is really two mutually warring cities of the _________ not Pausanias the king of the 390’s (who is the person I have called simply “Pausanias” elsewhere in this essay). thus not in the interests of the ruled. The timocracy is not a pure Thrasymachean . Compare Pol. Philippus 147-8. .. for these things involve great harm: for it is clear that any of the citizens who is able would also pursue this. although he [already] had so much honor. how he might rule over his own city. and is all too close to the Thrasymachean or rather . and then devotes itself to war for the sake of conquering and enslaving its neighbors and guarding those it has already enslaved (and indeed there is no firm line between the Spartans’ attitudes toward the Laconian helots and toward the Messenians). that is. [these writers] do not judge rightly about the kind of rule that the legislator should honor: for rule over free people is more noble and accompanied by more virtue than despotic rule. and this was probably just as much a commonplace of the fourth century as praise of Spartan virtue. besides texts not using “ ” or its cognates. “the Spartans … look to nothing but how they can seize as much as possible of other people’s property”). who willingly submit to a harsh discipline. which is what the Spartans accuse King Pausanias of. because he trained them to conquer so as to rule their neighbors. so Thibron seems to admire the legislator of the Spartans—and all the others who write about their too—on the ground that they ruled over many through exercising themselves for danger .

by contrast. and they will probably not do much manual labor on their farms). However. while the Laws’ own ideal community would contain only citizens corresponding roughly to the Spartiates or to the guardians of the Republic (they can farm but not engage in handicrafts or trade.ON PLATO’S 33 rich and the poor (Rep. he will need more than narrowly “political” _________ 39 Since several readers have told me that Plato says this only about the oligarchic city. where apparently it was all the Messenians’ own fault. 40 See the (often bizarre) analysis of Peloponnesian history at Laws III. regarding their rule over the perioeci and helots as part of their foreign relations rather than their internal . which is ruled for the benefit of all its members. IV. including producers as well as soldiers and rulers. or aboriginal inhabitants of the Peloponnesus from before the return of the Heraclids (or Dorian invasion). VIII. could be put to death without trial. if Plato wishes to reform the Spartan so that it will not be devoted to or to warfare for its own sake. 538 Rose) each year’s ephors formally declare war on the helots. 547c1-3). but Rep. The reason for the divergence is that the Laws is considering only the Spartiates’ rule over fellow-Spartiates. The Republic is on this point more radical in its critique of Sparta than the Laws. the Republic wants to show the possibility of an entirely self-sufficient community. and broke their alliance with the Spartans. who might more appropriately be described as enslaved. let me stress that this is not true: Rep. so that they can lawfully be killed. and (according to Aristotle’s of the Spartans.” Xenophon Resp. and will rule in the interests of the ruled. presumably on the grounds that these people are defeated Messenians. 39 and the clearest illustration would be Sparta. regards the perioeci and helots (not really distinguishing them) as enslaved members of the original Spartan community. 1271b40-1272a1). and so it is important for the Republic to bring out the Spartan deviation from this ideal. 422e3-423a5 says this about every city other than the ideal. Lac. 551d5-7 says that the oligarchic city is two conflicting cities. and so on. XV 3). II 10. 683c8-693c5. 40 The Republic. which says that the Spartan is a true and not a . VIII. 41 so that the oppression of the helots is a graver charge from the standpoint of the Republic than of the Laws. It is nonetheless true that the Spartan perioeci had no civil rights at Sparta. And this difference is because. he is thinking not of the Spartan perioeci but of a Cretan group corresponding to the Spartan helots (Aristotle Pol. 41 However. it is possible that when Plato speaks of the guardians “enslaving those whom they previously guarded as free friends and nourishers” and “keeping them as perioeci and servants” (Rep. because they corrupted their original and laws as they were established after the Dorian invasion. where the helots and perioeci are denied Spartan citizenship (the perioeci belong to their own “cities. Plutarch Lycurgus 28 = Fr. . IV 422e3-423a5).

like the Laconizers. the timocracy. and in parallel to.” and he emphasizes that happiness came to the Spartans by obedience to the law. even if he does not himself live in a of that type. that is. This is because he. On the contrary. especially the ruling members who determine the collective decisions. and its ruling members. in his account of and (though not in his account of their relation to reason). and this means showing that it is psychologically possible to get people to act in the desired way. democracy and tyranny and their rulers are governed by . although unfortunately it is not the right character-type that they are molding their citizens into. by virtue: not simply because obedience to law is a virtue (a point stressed in the Memorabilia) but because the laws of the Spartans in particular are designed to foster all the virtues. that is. Plato is not here simply imposing his own independently developed psychology in an attempt to explain the Spartans.34 STEPHEN MENN means. Plato is elaborating a psychology that is at least implicit in the Laconizing texts themselves. he is also interested in the psychology of the individual who admires each type of . So Plato is concerned with different character-types as well as. thinks that the is founded on the of individual citizens. he compelled all [the Spartiates] to practice all the virtues publicly: for as individuals who train [in virtue] surpass in vir- . are governed by . and if necessary suppression of action to satisfy bodily needs. in ways we might have thought psychologically impossible. and so we try to explain how this comes about by stressing the power of the common state education to shape people’s character into a new mold. Xenophon starts his of the Spartans by speaking of Lycurgus’ laws as making his city “preeminent in happiness [ ]. Plato wants to show that a Socratic is possible. In the terms of the Republic. the different types of . and this is a psychological explanation of why the timocracy is not a merely Thrasymachean . while the oligarchy. This is already a concern of the Laconizing literature: the Spartans (allegedly) behave in ways very different from everyone else. since is the force in the soul that leads to action in pursuit of the ideals one has heard praised as noble. “Since [Lycurgus] recognized that those who choose to devote themselves to virtue individually are not sufficient to make the nation great. and uses it to guide his actions where he does live. This works at two levels: he is concerned with the psychology of the different members of each . Plato wishes to keep state control of education but change the content of that education. on their character as formed by their education: perhaps the greatest insight of the Spartans is that the highest goal of the is to form the character of the citizens.

it seems equivalently. Being a Socratic did not stop anyone from positing plural sources of motivation within the soul. so naturally Sparta surpasses all cities in virtue. because the Spartans as the Laconizers imagine them are the theoretical extreme of the triumph of honor-values over pleasure-values. and in several dialogues before the Republic Plato had experimented .” the laws imposing penalties on anyone who “neglects to be as good as possible. but virtue produces happiness not “naturally” by perfecting the soul.” because the legislator has contrived that public honor will attend virtue. By making honor correspond to virtue. That sounds Platonic. a good soul pursuing noble works and a bad soul pursuing base works (Cyropaedia VI i 41). Any Spartan who is virtuous in this way will also be happy: Lycurgus “conspicuously held out happiness [as a reward] for the good. he commanded others to whip these. II i 21-34.. when such dishonor [ ] is attached to the bad. Plato seems much more concerned to correct this simple bipartite psychology than he is to correct what is sometimes described as the Socratic unitary psychology. I do not at all wonder that death is there preferred to such a dishonored and shamed [ ] life” (IX 1 and IX 6). wishing in this too to show that it is possible by suffering pain for a short time to delight in good fame [ ] for a long time” (II 9). who prefer being praised. Now the conflict between a desire for pleasure and a desire for honor or the honorable is by no means restricted to Laconizing literature (we find it for instance in Prodicus’ “Choice of Heracles” in Xenophon Mem. But it is particularly important there. but “artificially. to pleasure or wealth or long life: “having made it noble [ ] to steal as many cheeses as possible from [the altar of Artemis] Orthia. and especially that public censures of all kinds will attend vice. or. and in Heraclitus B29). Lycurgus “brought it about in the city that a noble [ ] death is more choiceworthy than a base [ ] life . in Republic VIII and earlier in Republic IV. between being base or shameful and being in fact shamed... The virtuous are those who prefer the noble. Xenophon does not seem to notice any conceptual gap between being noble or honorable and being in fact honored. it did not stop Xenophon from going so far as to posit two souls within each of us.ON PLATO’S 35 tue individuals who neglect it. In setting out his tripartite psychology. or Socratic. and the Laconizing literature tries to explain this triumph by giving a psychological account of the kind of education that would produce it. since it alone publicly practices excellence [ ]. and unhappiness for the bad” (IX 3).” and compelling all to practice “every political virtue” (X 4-7). enough.

but with no sign of rejecting the Protagoras. That is to say: -motivation may be sufficient to produce “political courage” (as Plato calls it. when it has come to be in someone. since he has abandoned the best guardian. but by a reason that has a desire of its own. like boys running away from their father the law. but it is not sufficient to preserve an individual or a city from degenerating into or (as Plato equally stresses) into arbitrary aggression against subordinates or neighbors. measuring by the gratification [ ] for it. not the apparent good). 430c2-4). the measuring art and the power of appearance. but as he becomes older he would embrace it through sharing in the money-loving nature and not being pure as to virtue. will dwell within its possessor as a savior/preserver of virtue throughout life” (549a9-b7). I would prefer to describe him as Socratizing the psychology of the Laconizers. for philosophical contemplation or more generally for peaceful “musical” _________ At Charmides 167e1-5 the object of is pleasure and the object of is the good. must be controlled by reason: not by a reason which aims merely at maximizing long-term satisfaction of or . “but rather the body itself judged/distinguished. 42 . the vices for which the Spartans are most notorious. 42 but none of this had led him to tripartition. but at most why it is non-unitary). but 464b2-465e1 contrasts arts aiming at the best with pseudo-arts aiming at what is pleasant. Rather than describing Plato in the Republic as correcting Socratic psychology (which could not explain why the new psychology is tripartite. at 493a3-b3 “the part of the soul where the are. having been educated not by persuasion but by violence. and if the body were not governed by a soul which can distinguish the arts from their imitators. At Phaedo 94b4-e6 the soul contradicts and overrules bodily affections such as hunger and thirst. Gorgias 467c5-468c8 argues that is always of the good (the real good.36 STEPHEN MENN with a contrast between rational and non-rational motivation. and “converses with and passions and fears as one thing speaking to another. and says of the timocratic person that “such a person when young would despise money [or possessions]. To preserve virtue reliably in an individual or a city. At Protagoras 356c4-e4 there is a contrast between two motivating powers. as the Republic as a whole Socratizes the Laconizing -literature both in form and in content. they have neglected what belongs to the true Muse who is associated with discourse and philosophy. X.” and which can be persuaded in contrary directions. Rep. Rep.” as when Odysseus commands his heart to endure. which alone. IV.” namely “discourse blended with music. the virtue for which the Spartans are most famous. I do not mean to suggest that these passages put forward a consistent theory. Republic VIII describes the elite of the timocracy as “enjoying pleasures in secret. since. and have honored gymnastics prior to music” (548b6-c2).” chaos would result. is like a leaky jar. developing it more fully. 602c7-603a8 picks up this passage. for instance on how far is due to the soul or to the body.

[ ] bears arms for the rational part. On the other hand. cp. and only then separates out the philosophers and reason from the auxiliaries and . 440a8-b7). while oligarchy and democracy and tyranny and the corresponding characters governed by would require more radical transformations. As Republic IV puts it. 43 From Republic VIII’s criticisms of the Spartan and of the character of the elite it produces. . the best would result. cp. so that characters and governed by need only an extra layer of rational control to make them Socratic. while Plato is saying against the Laconizers that -motivation needs to be controlled by philosophical reason... unfortunately. or. that it was this new understanding of that led him to reflect on the Spartan and on how it could be improved. the lovers of money . more cautiously. as if there was no value-difference between what the Republic will call the timocratic and oligarchic characters. even if we did not have the _________ 43 Note that if Plato’s starting-point in introducing tripartition were in reflection on individual moral psychology rather than on politics. “in the civil conflict within the soul. the “is an auxiliary by nature to the rational part. when it does so. so that aggression does not degenerate into an end in itself or into a means to . The Spartan and Spartan education. he would more plausibly have proceeded by first distinguishing rational from irrational sources of motivation. Instead he starts by distinguishing the producers from guardians. he is also saying that -motivation can be controlled by reason in a way that -motivation cannot. conversely. like the many. are an amazingly effective machinery for developing and harnessing the power of to control . equally directly.” should conflict break out between reason and (440e1-6. and only then subdividing the irrational soul. unless [the ] is corrupted by a bad upbringing” (441a2-3). the machinery is not being used for the philosophically correct purpose. This plan of exploiting the power of to bring under the control of reason does not seem to occur to Plato anywhere before the Republic: the Phaedo contrasts the person who abstains from bodily from philosophical virtue with the politically virtuous people who abstain “fearing bankruptcy and poverty. or. and from . as the Laconizers imagine them. 82c2-5 and 82a11-b3).ON PLATO’S 37 pursuits. We may say that Plato’s new understanding of the role of comes out of critical reflection on the Laconizing ideology. [or] fearing dishonor and the reputation of wickedness. we could infer. but if the machinery could be captured by philosophical reason. reason in the Phaedo seems to dominate all the passions. like the lovers of rule and honor” (82c5-8.

and not be like sheep-dogs who attack their own sheep (Rep. and since in public none are allowed to consume more conspicuously than others. since they forgo many pleasures in adhering to their military or quasi-military discipline. This is the point of departure for the odd-sounding criticism of the Spartans for not allowing drinking or symposia. . This is not in itself any criticism of Sparta. 416b1-6). auxiliaries and rulers. but by suitably formed characters carefully selected from among them. and III. For this reason the city must be ruled. which develops the “philosophical” or wisdom-loving part of the soul and makes people temperate but risks making them excessively soft (410a7-412a7). 375b9-d1. the Spartan education does well at making their military guardian class and fierce towards enemies. in a way. 416a27. there are specially selected rulers/magistrates (holding office for life. or for a year. “if the is going to be saved/preserved” (412a9-10). but when they are freed from this discipline or are in private. not simply by the military class. but will also be the guardian of the against any changes in the practices of its citizens which could destabilize it from within (414b1-6). like the kings and gerontes. So it is too simple to say that Plato replaces a Spartan duality of unfree producers and armsbearing citizens with a triple division of producers. they indulge themselves without limit. as they must be if they are truly to guard them. like the ephors and nauarchs). but presumably the symposium is not simply an occasion for moderation in drinking. where. Plato and the Laconizers equally accept a duality of producers and military _________ 44 Compare the criticisms of Sparta in Laws I-II: the Spartan legislator instituted many practices to develop courage. and it is such a ruler who is most truly a “guardian. as in other Greek cities. temperate. how Plato thought the Spartan ideal would need to be emended to turn it into a Socratic . 44 It is especially the ruler or “overseer” of the city who will have to be formed in this way. First. II. without explicit reference to Sparta). but not at making them gentle toward their own people.38 STEPHEN MENN earlier books of the Republic. so we must take great care over the education of the guardians so that they do not turn from benevolent allies into harsh masters [ ] of the people (III. with “musical” education. but also a vehicle of the musical education that the Spartans are missing.” since he will not only guard the city militarily against threats from without. since they have not really moderated their appetites but have merely overwhelmed them with motivations. but what did he institute to develop temperance? The Spartans are. which develops the body but also the part of the soul and makes people brave but risks making them excessively harsh. In Republic III the solution seems to be that their education must balance gymnastics. and indeed the Laconizing literature stresses the prompt obedience of all Spartiates (even the kings) to those in authority over them.

whose power the producers are unable to check. with rulers/magistrates selected out of the military class. suggesting that Plato sees this bipartition as the more basic division of the society. 46 Here Plato is picking up a theme of the so-called or “mirrors for princes” literature. however. saying that in order to preserve the the ruler must know eternal paradigms and especially the good for the sake of which everything else is done. beyond the common education imposed on the whole military class. in later books. only in this way can they be trusted not to make ruling or fighting ends in themselves. to ensure that the rulers and the military class. needs not only gymnastic but also musical education.) Plato is not simply adding philosopher-rulers on the Socratic grounds that the ruler must have knowledge of the good. that is necessary to bring the rulers to this knowledge. Cleanthes. These texts would be related to texts. 17c1-19b2. Plato is also adding music and philosophy to the Spartan to ensure that the rulers and fighters have something better to do than ruling and fighting. and in assuming unlimited monarchy rather than discussing the merits of different . There are also later lost works by Aristotle. Sphaerus and the Megarian Euphantus. Plato finds it necessary to abolish the and private property for the guardians. rather than a tripartition. philosophical contemplation in the strict sense for the rulers and “musical” or cultural pursuits for the others. . For a brief but helpful discussion of Plato’s Republic and the literature see Ferrari in Ferrari and Griffith 2000. Finally. Persaeus. of course. but differ in being at least sometimes dedicated to a king. or as Plato also says “philosophy” (so 411c5). 45 The question. and the lost Cyrus or by Antisthenes (whether these were written before or after the Republic). Isocrates’ Cyprian orations. will not use this power for but will rule in the interest of the ruled. he specifies the content of this philosophy. that stable right action requires knowledge and not mere true opinion. and say that Plato corrected Lycurgus by mixing him with Pythagoras [mathematics] and Socrates [dialectic]. notably by Dio Chrysostom. mathematics followed by dialectic. Strato. reports a bipartition of society into producers and guardians. to “undo” the crucial step _________ 45 The Timaeus’ summary of the Republic. describing how the ideal king will act and how he must first be trained: examples would be Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. 46 Already in Republic III Plato stresses that the ruler. even more than other guardians. and specifying the curriculum. all cited by Diogenes Laertius in the corresponding lives.ON PLATO’S 39 guardians. and much later extant texts. (We might thus reverse Dicaearchus’ dictum cited above. that the many can be guaranteed to have true opinion only if they follow someone who has knowledge. Theophrastus. xviii-xx. and a separate On the Education of a King by Theophrastus. is how they are to be selected. and in particular what special education is needed to make a good ruler.

I starts by citing. The Spartiates do of course have their own land and houses (and at least bronze currency. and Plato is saying that this leads them to a conflict of interest with their assigned task of guarding the city and the producing class. is a Greek commonplace. Xenophon in Oikonomikos 13 defends the deliberately paradoxical thesis that the rule of a master or a slave steward over slaves requires the same skill as the rule of a statesman or a king over free citizens. this shared thesis. and they will spend their whole lives hating and being hated and plotting and being plotted against. and will become hostile masters [ ] instead of allies of the other citizens. but when they acquire their own [ ] land and houses and currency. The tension that Plato evokes here between and . fearing more enemies from within than from without. immediately after giving the standard Laconizing rules that the guardians must eat in common messes and must not possess gold or silver. see Carter 1986. between managing one’s estate. . exercising authority within the law over free and equal citizens in the common interest of rulers and ruled. “in this way they would be saved/preserved and would save/preserve the city. but the Spartiates are not plowing their land themselves (and if they did they would not have time for their civic-military duties). and setting out to refute. also argues that the best and truest kind of is something better than . as is the criticism of those who retire to preside over their estate instead of devoting themselves to the common good of the city. the Eleatic Stranger in the Statesman starts by defending this thesis too (258e8-259c4). with the temptation to gold and silver). and participating in the governance of the city. is often identified with the art of moneymaking [ ]. For criticism of people retiring to their estates rather than taking part in democratic politics. Pol.40 STEPHEN MENN that turned the Callipolis into the timocracy. Aristotle. they will be household managers [ ] and farmers instead of guardians. rather. and fearing them more: and thus both they and the rest of the city have already come very close to destruction” (417a5b6). they are supervising a landed estate and the workers who are bound to that land. 47 The Laconizers especially _________ 47 For the differences between and see especially Aristotle Pol. while mostly trying to distinguish from the more noble . but then apparently repents of it after his recantation at 274e1-4. they are trying to extract a surplus of produce beyond what they must grant for the survival and reproduction of their workforce. I. and their interests will conflict with those of their workers and also with the larger interests of the city. Farming sounds innocuous. exercising arbitrary authority over slaves in one’s own private interest. As Plato says at the end of Republic III. namely the guardians’ division of the land and crops and animals and human beings of the city among themselves as their own property.

it had ceased to be so by any time for which we have real evidence. lavishing much on women and on whoever else they want” (548a9-b2). that Polybius was fooled into this by the Spartan revolutionaries (whom he detested) is implausible. enslaving those whom they previously guarded as free friends and nourishers. says Plato. Polybius also speaks of the Spartan equality of landholding. and. I agree that it was a myth. Hodkinson is right that Aristotle’s critique of Sparta in Pol. but I will not speak otherwise: the legislator must be complete and not diminished by half. though certainly egalitarian aspects of the Spartan legend (like other aspects) grow in the telling. and their freedom from conflicting private duties and interests which could get in the way of . 19-64. despite Hodkinson’s attempts at denial (32 with 61n17). . and devote themselves to war and to guarding [their slaves]” (547b8-c4): while the (presumably equal and inalienable) division of land in the Spartan is usually praised. so that if the division of land among the Spartiates had ever been equal. 48 for Plato it represents the violent dispossession and enslavement of the producers. Plato in Laws VII criticizes the Spartans for not subjecting the women to the same discipline as the men: he admits that the Spartans do better than other Greeks in making their girls take part in athletics. As we saw in Republic VIII. However. the continuing institution of the contradicts this. the myth is earlier than Cleomenes: it is clearly there at Laws III. let him praise. and it does not look like an invention of Plato’s. 684d4-685a4. II 9 makes clear that the Spartan landed allotment was not equal and inalienable and indivisible. 51. it may have been close to inalienable within the owner’s lifetime (it is striking that Aristotle does not talk about people losing their land through debt). And the private is the place where the Spartiates can indulge in consumption immune to public scrutiny and to Spartan discipline: Plato speaks of “enclosed dwellings. is stimulating and useful but exaggerated. who are now landowners with an economic self-interest instead of pure Socratic rulers ruling in the interest of the ruled. but if he allows the females to enjoy luxuries and to spend in a _________ 48 The argument of Hodkinson 2000. But. but “whoever wishes to praise your legislators [= Lycurgus and Minos] for these things. The Spartan women are here especially singled out because they remain on the estate and are not subject to the public discipline and communal living of Spartan boys and men. indeed. and Hodkinson’s claim. they are likely to wind up managing the estate when the men are away. and the corruption of the guardians. VI xlv 3 and xlviii 3. keep them as perioeci and servants. the founding act of the timocracy is when the guardians “distribute and privatize [ ] the land and the houses.ON PLATO’S 41 stress the priority of the Spartiates’ duty to the city. where they may expend [gold and silver]. but it could be divided or combined with other property in inheritance. that Spartan equality in land-ownership was a myth invented by the revolutionaries around Cleomenes III in the late third century. verily private nests.

(Some of these “internal criticisms” will only work if the reader assumes that the city which the guardians are serving comprises the producers too as citizens and not only the guardians. instead of [taking care for] twice that” (806c1-7. the rejection of . the importance of an all-encompassing discipline of virtue). The generic background of Laconizing -literature helps us in interpreting the Republic by allowing us to see what expectations Plato assumes in his readers as he constructs his best . it may be some time before the Laconizing reader realizes that something has gone wrong. he starts with some value which the Laconizing reader can be assumed to share (e. but this premiss is secured by the way Plato derives the guardians and the other groups in the city he is constructing. By subjecting the girls and women to the same discipline and same communal living as the boys and men. sketching a with many familiar Laconizing features. IV. but he partly defeats the expectations. his criticisms are typically “internal. Aristotle will develop this criticism of the Spartans in Politics II 9. Plato partly confirms those expectations. pointedly rejecting other familiar features of the Spartan . and sees the non-discipline of the women as a main cause leading the Spartans to honor wealth). Where Plato does criticize the Spartan model.) Without this background we would be liable to what Schleiermacher calls “quantitative . and shows that some correction to Spartan institutions is needed to fully realize that value. the elimination of the guardian altogether. while the others are barred from military activity—and it gradually diverges..” as they are in the Laws: that is. as different specializations mutually dependent and all needed for the good of the whole. will be an easy next step. and if there is neither desire nor leisure for either guardian men or women to consume in private on the . His starts by sounding Spartan enough—particularly with the separation of a specialist military class who are barred from money-making pursuits. Plato aims to bring -values into submission to values.g. he has almost completely neglected half of a happy life for the city. and the entrusting of the oversight of the producers and their land to the state. and takes care only of the males.42 STEPHEN MENN disordered regimen.

we are not entirely dependent on what we can reconstruct (based especially on Xenophon) of the history of the -genre. being democrats ourselves. the poet who praises them both at II. Glaucon and Adeimantus are not given strongly contrasting characterizations. and Socrates then comments that Glaucon is “always most courageous in all encounters” [II. never vice versa. 368a4.” that is. Tigerstedt I 274-5. and can be persuaded to look to a better. Adeimantus is three times described as “Glaucon’s brother” [II.) . 376d4]. the individual corresponds. The timocrat is the Laconizer. But Plato has no hope of persuading the democrats. and his criticisms of democracy are mostly conventional sarcasms. 327c2. is Glaucon’s lover. Plato directly shows us the character of his intended readers in the persons of Glaucon and Adeimantus. collective and individual way of life. And Plato expressly describes Glaucon’s character: when Socrates asks what the person corresponding to the timocratic will be like. we are naturally inclined to put the emphasis on Plato’s criticisms of democracy. as Clinias and Megillus are in the Laws (noted above). 357a2-3]. (So. but it is clear that Glaucon is the dominant personality (it is Glaucon who first challenges Socrates to give a more persuasive account of justice and not rest content with defeating Thrasymachus. when Plato describes types of soul as corresponding to types of . Adeimantus immediately volunteers that he’ll be like Glaucon. 362d2. Glaucon is thus like the timocrat but somewhat better: he is able to see the faults that Socrates points out in the timocratic city and the timocratic character. philosophical. That is. and therefore more inclined to be savage to slaves. to missing where the emphasis is supposed to fall. Glaucon and not Adeimantus walks down to the Piraeus with Socrates at the beginning of the dialogue.ON PLATO’S 43 misunderstanding. and more likely to fall into a love of money (VIII. not _________ 49 More particularly. whose ideal has very little pull on us now. while Adeimantus seems more concerned with culture and religion. 548d6-549b10). Socrates replies that while they’ll be alike in their love of victory. 49 But in discerning the expectations of Plato’s intended audience. who are stand-ins for the reader. his emphasis is rather on persuading the people closest to him. the Laconizers. the timocrat will be less given to “music” and discourse. Glaucon is the interlocutor for the philosophical and political high-points of the dialogue. rightly. also Xenophon mentions Glaucon but not Adeimantus as a companion of Socrates. and Diogenes Laertius attributes to Glaucon a series of Socratic dialogues— including a Cephalus!). and take turns functioning cooperatively as Socrates’ interlocutor for a single developing argument.

and he wants to persuade them to admire something different from the Spartan ideal. objects that “these men . not being of the . and the introduction _________ 50 For the idea that persons of different character would also prefer to live in different kinds of city.. demands on neighboring territories. which motivates all the rest of the construction. Likewise. radicalizing the Spartan model. . the philosopher will think that the philosopher-rulers of Callipolis are the happiest. although its ruling group will typically be of the corresponding type). Plato does not expect actual Spartan readers and does not care about actual Spartans (and he surely believes no more than Xenophon did that the “Lycurgan” ideal was realized in the Sparta of his own time). requiring civilized luxuries and thus leading to further specialization and expansion. but they intervene with objections at four crucial junctures. and thinks that the tyrant is happiest (I. and thus the introduction of a Spartan-style military class. proposes the abolition of private property for the guardians: Glaucon accepts this. at the beginning of Book IV. 50 Thus Thrasymachus is clearly portrayed as a tyrannical person. the abolition of the family at the end of Book IV and beginning of Book V. the brothers (on behalf of the whole audience) protest at Socrates’ two further radicalizations of the Spartan model. has prepared to do injustice and has recognised that it is easier to escape notice when one is bad in a democratic city than in an oligarchic one” (II 20). 344a3-c4). believing that these rulers are happy. something that Socrates has not said]. and the timocrat will think that the (idealized) Spartiates are the happiest. but “whoever. This prompts Socrates to defend the principle that we must construct the city (and the guardians must rule it) for the sake of the whole city’s happiness rather than just the guardians’. After Glaucon and Adeimantus present their initial challenge to Socrates at the beginning of Book II.” and that Socrates is making the rest of the population happy at the expense of the guardians (419a1-420a1).B. but Adeimantus. 372c2-e1). he is writing in the first instance for the Laconizers at Athens and elsewhere. enjoy none of the goods of the city.. compare the pseudo-Xenophon: the can be forgiven for wanting to live in a democratic city. whose city it really is [N. Glaucon and Adeimantus accept that construction until the end of Book III. where Socrates. but to the that he admires and would prefer to live in as one of its rulers. Glaucon successfully objects to the minimalist “city of pigs” (II. and also to try to bring his interlocutors to see the guardians of the Callipolis as truly happy. they for the most part allow themselves to be persuaded by Socrates’ construction of the ideal city. chooses to live in a democratic city rather than in an oligarchic one.44 STEPHEN MENN necessarily to the he lives in (each will contain many types of individuals.

some other type of . make a difference for one’s own : even if one lives in some other city. as Plato and Aristotle try to bring out. 52 This gives Socrates the task of _________ 51 An anonymous referee points out to me that there is a contradiction between the nobler things that the timocratic person admires. about what counterone should look toward. This is true.ON PLATO’S 45 of philosopher-kings at V. and establish/colonize [ ] the one he has selected”. d4e1. prompting Socrates’ elaboration and defense of each of these radicalizations. particularly among those dissatisfied with the democracy. the of the democratic man “contains the most of and . and the just person who appears unjust and suffers the consequences. but the same contradiction exists in the rulers of the timocratic city. the oligarchic people in the democratic city (explicitly described 565b2-c4) will look to oligarchy. Glaucon promises that he will be a particularly helpful and receptive interlocutor for this argument (474a6-b2. 450b6-d7). one can live looking to the of some other . namely tyranny. likewise. we must look not to a petty thief but to the most “perfect” or “complete” [ ] injustice. the cunning and powerful unjust person who appears just. but. The timocratic man professes to admire the Spartan devotion to civic virtue. 343e7-344c4). 52 So too Glaucon at II. and he is indeed persuaded. to see that the most unjust person is also the happiest (I. The democratic city in particular. 557c1-2. This is what sets Socrates’ task.” so that anyone “who wishes to construct a city” need only “come to the democratic city and select whichever he likes.” “contains all kinds of on account of its liberty. as if coming to the bazaar of . but also with many dissident types each admiring. Just as it was Thrasymachus and not Socrates who introduced into the discussion. “he would not lack for ” (VIII. 360e1-361d3: to compare and decide whether the just or the unjust is happier. 51 And we must see a great debate at Athens. not only with democratic people admiring the democratic . So we must see democratic Athens as filled. and trying to live as if they inhabited. which take up all of Books V-VII. we must first posit “perfect” or “complete” and “extreme” versions of each. so it was Thrasymachus who introduced (though not using that word). where “people of all varieties would most of all arise. and cp. and tyrannical people like Thrasymachus will look to tyranny as their . Thus the Athenian Laconizers will look to their idealized Sparta. and the baser things that he has a tendency to pursue. . What one admires. when he says that to see that injustice is more advantageous than justice. 561e6-7). this is mixed with a less open admiration for Spartan as well. 473-4. and what city’s rulers one believes to be happy.

ancient Athens provided a of laws and to the other Greeks. but no city is willing to imitate them” (Resp. or inaction. is also the most miserable (more precisely. the tyrannical person is more miserable than any other character-type. and it will also be shown that the tyrannical . X 8). Now while we might be tempted to connect this talk of with the Platonic theory of Forms. ] are a noble [ ] invention for human beings for producing good works. presumably by offering himself as . Socrates tells Callicles that just as to succeed politically (to avoid suffering injustice) under a tyranny. note that someone “who has lived in the previous life in an ordered . which Thrasymachus agrees to be the most unjust. that they pursue at Athens. Isocrates too speaks of . Socrates gives this comparative evaluation of individual and collective an eschatological significance when he imagines that after death we will be given a choice among all the “ of ” (X.46 STEPHEN MENN constructing a counterof a city and an individual. Panegyricus 39). which will be both most just and happiest. and the tyrannical person who succeeds in acquiring a tyranny is even more so. he goes on to speak of “imitating” Agesilaus and suggests that Agesilaus’ main task as king was not military leadership but leading his fellowcitizens to virtue. so to succeed politically in the Athenian democracy one must make oneself as similar as possible to . 578b4c3). Lac. participating in virtue by habituation without philosophy” is likely to choose wrong in the next life. and that those who have correctly studied what circumstances of make a soul most just and therefore happiest are the people who will be happy in the next life (618b6-619b1. Xenophon says that “if plumbline and straightedge [ . and this will make a difference to the kind of political action. 619b7-d3). sometimes meaning merely an example in an inductive argument. Presumably Xenophon also sees Lycurgan Sparta as a collective when he says that “everyone praises such practices. and will allow us to see that justice is more advantageous than injustice: this will be shown to be more just and happier than the Laconizing (which is conceded to be more just and happier than the democratic ). Different Athenians will admire different individual and collective . IX. in fact it does not seem to be peculiarly Platonic. Ad Nicoclem 31 and Nicocles 37. but sometimes a model for admiration and imitation (Nicocles’ virtue or will be a for his fellow-citizens. the virtue of Agesilaus seems to me to be a noble for those who wish to practice excellence [ ]” (Agesilaus X 2). 618a1). one must make oneself a friend to the tyrant by making oneself similar to him in character.

496a-e) because they realize that if they intervened in politics without lowering themselves to the character of the established they would be destroyed before they could accomplish anything. would have looked to the Spartan . or anti-political. but of which “a is perhaps stored up in heaven for one who wishes to see it. others may retreat from politics (like the father of the timocratic youth at Republic VIII. the philosophical person. and. By contrast with other dissidents admiring other . it makes no difference whether it is or will be anywhere. Some may try it anyway. and this too is reflected in the dramatis personae of the Republic. to pursue philosophical inquiry and ask dialectical questions. Since Callicles thinks himself superior to the and would not want to become like it in character. having seen it. thinking that they can avoid the consequences. The political. and especially to cross-examine people like Callicles and Alcibiades who are planning political careers. in the Seventh Letter: . 565b2-566d3). and guards lest anything overturn it” by way of wealth or honors. and he alone of the Athenians of his time. but not in his fatherland. 591e1-5). at VI. without naming him. Presumably the way to “practice the politics” of the Callipolis while living in Athens is to do what Socrates is doing when he says in the Gorgias that he. Many people in Plato’s immediate circle of family and friends. or the uncorrupted philosophical natures. he would practice [the politics] of this city alone and of no other” (592b2-5). to the (Gorgias 510a6-511a3. and persuade them to pursue philosophy first or instead. 549c. truly practices politics (521d6-8): namely.ON PLATO’S 47 the . but Socrates corrects him to say that “in his own city [he will practice politics]. that is. Plato speaks of Critias. 512e4-513c3). unless some divine good fortune occurs” (592a7-9): “his own city” is the city in which Socrates and his interlocutors have been describing. yet others may attempt clandestine action to subvert the established (like the oligarchic people whose attempt to resist their dispossession by subverting the democracy leads disastrously to and the rise of tyranny at VIII. disaffected with the democracy. and Socrates prevented by his . consequences of Plato’s critique of previous have particular significance in Plato’s immediate political context. who “looks to the within himself. Or so Glaucon says. which may exist nowhere on earth (592a10-b1). most obviously his cousin Critias (whose talk about Sparta was described above). this is supposed to dissuade him—and other Athenian dissidents—from pursuing a political career at Athens. “will not be willing to practice politics [ ]” (IX. to settle himself there.

but the disastrous rule of the Thirty. . 53 and so I paid close attention to see what they would do. an alternative to both democratic and oligarchic politicians: although Socrates was accused of having educated the most outrageous figures on both sides. concluding that just and effective political action was impossible. VII. and the democrats proved themselves surprisingly mild toward those who had fought for the oligarchy. that from it [alone] would it be possible to discern all that is politically and individually just” (326a5-7). had utterly discredited the cause of oligarchy and of the Laconizers. until “finally I was compelled to say. Thus the Seventh Letter uses the Thirty’s attempt to involve Soc- _________ 53 This certainly reflects the actual propaganda of the Thirty: Lysias Against Eratosthenes 5 bitterly recalls that the Thirty promised to “make the city pure of unjust men. that no such good people could be found in so corrupt a city and that it would not be easy to produce new ones. (Epist. and that no good would come of the human race until philosophers became rulers or vice versa. that “it is not possible to act without friends and faithful/reliable ” (325d1-2). given my youth. and as a result of the exhaustion of available political . find themselves suspect perhaps as soon as they engage in politics. but on the contrary challenged their credentials to rule and so stimulated them to improve themselves (and that it is not his fault if they did not always follow through on his advice). Both for Plato and for Xenophon. what I experienced was nothing surprising: I thought they would govern the city so as to lead it from an unjust to a just . and Plato and Xenophon and many others. And. Plato finds the democracy irredeemably corrupt. The turn to philosophy thus appears reluctant. 325d1-8) So Plato withdrew from politics. disassociating themselves from both sides of the conflict. in praise of right philosophy. beginning with noble political talk.48 STEPHEN MENN some of [the Thirty] were relatives and familiars of mine. but after the execution of Socrates he again withdrew. The real or mythologized events of Socrates’ life serve to mark the course that Plato and Xenophon want to steer. Critias and Alcibiades. Socrates represents a personal . when the democracy was restored. and turn the remaining citizens toward virtue and justice”. Plato and Xenophon say that while Socrates associated with unsavory politicians. and they straightway exhorted me [to sharing in their political undertaking] as if it were my duty. certainly as soon as they say anything critical of democracy. who had stayed in the city and in all likelihood fought for the oligarchy against the men from the Piraeus. And [I saw] these men in a short time reveal the previous [democratic] as a thing golden [in comparison]. Plato again felt drawn (less intensely) toward politics. he never encouraged their illegalities.

in which case he should have been able. confusion about what Socrates actually did at the assembly where the demanded a single collective vote to condemn all the generals: the two Memorabilia passages say. and that while he protested he had no authority to block the vote. I vii 15 (in a long historical account of the trial. who. . that Socrates was the presiding officer [ ] chosen by lot out of the tribe holding the presidency of the to preside on that day. It seems clear that the Apology and Hellenica passages are closer to the historical facts. just as his refusal to participate in the arrest of Leon is used as a symbolic disavowal of the illegalities of the oligarchy. to prevent the issue from being put to the vote of the . and then of his resistance to the unlawful demands of the Thirty about Leon (32c4-e1). There are explicit descriptions of Socrates’ conduct in the case of the generals at Mem.ON PLATO’S 49 rates in the unlawful execution of Leon of Salamis (surely not the greatest of the Thirty’s crimes) to explain Plato’s alienation from the oligarchy. and it uses the execution of Socrates to explain his alienation from the restored democracy. but Xenophon also left Athens. with Socrates mentioned only briefly). Mem. because. IV iv 2-3 also combines what must be references to the case of the generals and to Leon in much the same way. linking himself with Socrates and Theramenes rather than Critias. but returned and set up a school in the Academy. and the Gorgias passage implies. elsewhere also Socrates’ refusal to put the fate of the generals at Arginusae to an unlawful vote of the is used as a symbolic disavowal of the illegalities of the democracy. however. with both Athenian and other Greek students. The Seventh Letter mentions only Leon and not Arginusae. 54 Xenophon tried to defend his honor.) _________ 54 Socrates in Plato’s Apology reminds the dikasts first of his resistance to the unlawful demands of the in the case of the generals (32a9-c4). and that the event has been mythologized in the Gorgias and Memorabilia. writing to Dion’s partisans in Syracuse. but the Apology and Hellenica passages imply that Socrates was merely one of the presiding group [ ] and not the presiding officer. Xenophon Mem. III vi. Glaucon and Adeimantus represent the kind of (Athenian) student that will come to the Academy. 247-8. like so many people that Socrates talks with in both Plato and Xenophon. and why he thinks those of his friends who do get involved are making a mistake (and why he did get involved both with Dion and with Dionysius II to the extent that he did). and then was exiled and could not return for decades. as also (and even more so) in other later sources. at least temporarily. but only why he is not going to get involved in oligarchic politics. (Glaucon is in fact one of the people that Xenophon’s Socrates persuades to pursue philosophy before politics. I i 18 (in a defense of Socrates) and Hell. have been persuaded that they need philosophy to improve themselves first before they will be able to accomplish anything in politics. Plato’s burden is not to explain why he does not get involved in democratic politics (Socrates’ execution is more than enough for that). and what must be a reference to the case at Gorgias 473e6-474a1. On all this see Dodds 1959. Plato also seems to have left Athens. There is. many of them politically ambitious people. with Agesilaus rather than Lysander.

When Socrates hears them say what people say against justice. they could turn either to philosophical quietism or to oligarchic subversion. They could go either way: disaffected with the democracy. was Critias). 11-36. they are also asking why we collectively shouldn’t act unjustly in such a way as to seem just to everyone outside our group: as Adeimantus says. 56 The _________ On Glaucon and Adeimantus compare Ferrari 2003. that it is better to be just and appear unjust and therefore suffer injustice than to get away with doing injustice by appearing just. the clubs (sometimes oath-bound. were also capable of criminal or revolutionary conspiracies. he marvels and concludes that they have experienced some divine favor. from their rather than from what they say. but by the same token they are Critias’ cousins (and the usual scholarly guess is that the lover of Glaucon who wrote elegiac verses praising Glaucon’s and Adeimantus’ bravery at the battle of Megara. and Glaucon and Adeimantus appeal to Socrates for help. discussion will have to await a fuller treatment. and coming sometimes to similar and sometimes to divergent conclusions. that they do not really believe that injustice is better than justice. where Ferrari and I have been thinking mostly independently. VI 27). although they are able to argue that case so powerfully (368a5-b4). Such divine favor is however notoriously unstable. and the opinion that justice is better than injustice needs to be tied down with arguments. but because the sophistic discourse represented by Thrasymachus has quite rightly opened their eyes to the emptiness of all this talk. and were the nuclei of the oligarchic resemble the clubs [ ] in revolutions of 411 and 404. On a range of issues. since Socrates knows. 56 Thucydides VIII 49 and 65 describe the role of or in the revolution of 411 (the mutilation of the Herms was also blamed on a to overthrow the democracy. While Glaucon and Adeimantus are often taken to be asking why I shouldn’t act unjustly in such a way as to seem just to everyone else. notably about the relation between each type of person and the corresponding type of city and its rulers. They are disaffected with the democracy and its talk of law and justice and social concord. 365d2-3). Plutarch Lysander 5 says Lysander urged people wishing revolt in the 55 . “to remain concealed. they are in part asking for reasons not to become like Critias. II.55 When Glaucon and Adeimantus beg Socrates to convince them fully that justice is to be chosen for itself and not merely for the social consequences of appearing just. These or .50 STEPHEN MENN Glaucon and Adeimantus are Plato’s brothers. as “ ” implies) that were the basis of much political action at Athens and elsewhere. we will gather and ” (II. with members supporting each other in the assembly or courts according to a common plan of action. 368a1-4. not because they are partisans of some other .

VII. But the Academy will be a with a crucial difference.ON PLATO’S 51 which the Spartiates had their common meals. .. like the of the Athenian Laconizers. Plato sharply contrasts this kind of friendship (the kind that he had notably with Dion) with those who “do not become friends from philosophy. Aristotle of the Athenians 34 says that at this time (after the Athenian surrender) the notables who belonged to the wanted an oligarchy. should it ever ask. but from the casual companionship [ ] of most friends. here said of Callippus. The Academy. looking to Spartan or oligarchic models and forming groups to subvert the democracy. he will work at acquiring knowledge and improving himself so that he will be worthy to lead the city. Critias was one of the five] . 333e1-4. and the Academy can be seen as a way of producing such . But if Plato’s arguments succeed with the readers represented by Glaucon and Adeimantus. is a founded on knowledge and on the justice which that knowledge is supposed to produce. Instead. We can thus say that Plato’s Republic. and the collectively could see themselves as forming the equivalent of a Spartiate citizen elite that could come to power through revolution.. that these cannot be found at Athens and that it is not easy to produce new ones. who joined Dion in his invasion of Sicily and later assassinated him). and it will remain within the limits of justice. It will nurture people from many _________ democratic cities of the Athenian alliance to form and ready themselves for political action when the time came. and Lysander put the decarchies together out of these (Lysander 13). Plato is not entirely rejecting the idea of : we have seen the Seventh Letter say that political action requires “friends and faithful/reliable ” (325d1-2). which they pursue from [formal] guest-friendships and from being initiated and seeing [mystery rituals together]” (Epist. like the Pythagorean society. established by the so-called as collectors of the ‘citizens’ [ ] and leaders of the conspirators [ ]”. Thus Lysias Against Eratosthenes 43 says that the revolution of the Thirty began with “five ephors [the same title and number as at Sparta. invites its readers to see themselves as members of a society of friends which might someday be the nucleus of a new (the Academy becoming the philosophers of the Callipolis). they will do what Socrates persuades Glaucon to do at Xenophon Memorabilia III vi: instead of planning how to gain honour by becoming the leader of the city. while the ordinary people wanted to preserve the democracy and those who did not belong to but thought themselves otherwise not socially inferior wanted a middle ground (the “ ”). they will not be tempted to follow the lead of Critias.

or in making peace like Solon after . Trampedach (besides doubting some of these reports) rejects the idea of an overall Academic political program. because a political ideology like that of the Laconizers sets up normative standards against which it can itself be judged and found wanting.52 STEPHEN MENN different Greek cities who are capable of ruling. 57 But Platonic friends will not plot to acquire power. not simply because of the uncertainty of the historical evidence. Protagoras. they are counsels against political action. To Trampedach’s list should be added Demophanes and Ekdelus or Ekdemus. Of course such crude readings of the Republic have been given often enough. Phormion of Elis and Aristonymus of Arcadia. naturally this does not mean that they were given a blank slate on which to create utopia). The Republic is not a mere expression of the class ideology in which Plato grew up.g. But political philosophy and political ideology do not have entirely independent histories. and if they are never invited to rule they will be just as happy contemplating: indeed. . It is not a justification for political action. it is only because they would rather not rule that it is safe to invite them. and to the extent that it has immediate political counsels. and some of those cities may someday be in enough trouble that they will invite the Academics to give laws or settle their quarrels. People often prefer to read the Republic without reference to this political background. and to have been involved in the overthrow of tyrannies in Megalopolis and Sicyon (Plutarch Philopoemen 1 and Polybius X 22). but that is another question. as other philosophers had been and would be [e. the students of Arcesilaus who are supposed to have legislated and restored peace in Cyrene. in founding a colony or reestablishing a city that had been destroyed. although it never forecloses the possibility of eventual political action. but because they do not like bringing Plato so close to the Laconizers and to oligarchic revolutionaries like Dion: they are afraid that reading the Republic this way will turn it into a mere piece of political ideology. Demetrius of Phalerum]. But I do not think this is the real result of reading the Republic against the political background I have been sketching. Plato is responding in the first instance not to political events but to _________ 57 For a detailed survey of reports of political activity by reported Academics.. an expression of class interests and a justification for political action. what we see here is that political ideology can provide the background from which political philosophy emerges. to bring about some imitation of the ideal. Notably Aristotle and Eudoxus are said to have given laws to their native cities. but a sharp and effective critique of that ideology. see Trampedach 1994. and Plutarch Against Colotes 1126c reports the same for Menedemus of Pyrrha. as the Athenians had invited Solon (on a number of occasions Academics were in fact invited to legislate. failing to respect its integrity as a work of philosophy. under the right circumstances.

and his addresses the Glaucons and Adeimantuses of its audience by working within the discourse of the of the Spartans. 58 MCGILL UNIVERSITY _________ 58 Let me add here a few words in reply to Sara Monoson’s comments. But since such realization is improbable in the short term. This is what makes it a of political philosophy. and the ideal might also be “realized” in a society of friends smaller than a city. it is worth stressing that the more probable second-best kinds of realization are not limited to “realization” within a single soul: there might be an imperfect realization in a whole city (yielding perhaps something more like Magnesia than like Callipolis). but also for her very interesting observations about Thrasymachus and the question of realizability. exposing the contradictions between Spartan praise of virtue and Spartan despotism and . within a city or cutting across the divisions between actual cities. which I appreciate not only for her kind words and accurate restatement of my main thrust.” and so might the invisible community to which the Republic invites its readers to see themselves as belonging.ON PLATO’S 53 political discourse. I agree with Monoson that the possibility of realization in an actual city is important for Plato’s task of answering Thrasymachus. The Academy might be one such “realization. . and bringing its audience to a rational and Socratic transformation of the Spartan ideal.

Revue française d’histoire des idées politiques 16: 369-86. (ed. 1. In Hodkinson and Powell (eds. and tr. E.-A. Cambridge. Atthis.F. Cambridge. Revue d’études grecques 72: 81-99. Hornblower. Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. S. Mattingly. Cambridge. Knox (eds. S.R. Translation and Discussion. (ed. 1986. L. Copenhagen. Paris. W.). M. 1993. Oxford. In Fortenbaugh. London. The Old Oligarch (Pseudo-Xenophon’s Athenaion Politeia) and Thucydides. 47: 352-7. and Schütrumpf. In Polis and Politics: 363-84.D. Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta. E. (ed. L. 2001.) 1997.) 2000. Ferrari. 1981.M. G. Platon. and tr. 1949. and Powell. Plato’s Republic. City and Chora in Sparta. I.). forthcoming. Oxford. Griffith. R. 1959. Düring. Mirhady. Sankt Augustin. Scripta Minora. La responsabilité de Cyrus dans le déclin de l’empire perse selon Platon et Xénophon.R. 1979. La République. P.E. P.L. Höffe. P. G. Momigliano. Dorion.W. Figueira. The Socratics’ Sparta and Rousseau’s. New Brunswick. Hodkinson. O. F. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker.MENN BIBLIOGRAPHY Annas. 1964.C. and Woozley. MA. and Dorion. J. 2001. and comm. Leroux. Cambridge. Cartledge. 1989. 1992. Jacoby. London. 2002. Oxford. de Romilly. S. 1923-. The Pamphlet of Pausanias. Oxford. Cartledge. (ed. 1987. Pseudo-Xenophon. The Origins of the Peloponnesian War. 1999.J. D. Göteborg. London. Bowersock. NJ: 1-132. Easterling and B. Classical Quarterly n. .s.C. Oxford. Mémorables. Croix. Hodkinson. Platon. 1972. Dicaearchus of Mesana: Text. Aristotle in the Ancient Biographical Tradition. P. City and Soul in Plato’s Republic. Le classement des constitutions d’Herodote à Aristote. J. In P. London. M. Cities of the Gods. de Ste. Gorgias. Jacoby. Carter. Xenophon’s Spartan Constitution. Cartledge. Constitution of the Athenians. A. Xénophon. MA: 461-507. D. Cross. E. G.) 1968. Burnyeat. The Evolution of the Messenian Identity. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 43:1-20. 1997. In Hodkinson and Powell (eds. G. I/3: 46-59. In his Spartan Reflections: 9-20. London.W. 1957. M.-A. First words. 2000. London Dodds. 2003. Cartledge. 1999. Loeb Classical Library. D. (ed. and the Hellenistic Period. Oxford. R. G. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic.) 211-44. 1997. Texts and Translations.) 311-37. A.) 1999 Sparta: New Perspectives. Bandini. Berlin. Cambridge History of Classical Literature. 2000.) 2000. Paris. t. Political Thought among the Ancient Greeks. 1993. The Development of Greek Biography. Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta. Expanded ed. Dicaearchus of Messana: The Sources. A. 2002. The Quiet Athenian. Berlin and Leiden.R. L. Plato. M.).) and Ferrari. Dawson. J. In Xenophon. (tr.B.B. T.) 1959. Politeia [essays]. (tr. (eds.E. Politeia dans la pensée grecque jusqu’à Aristote. Berlin.M. (eds. The Republic.F. The Date and Purpose of the Pseudo-Xenophon Constitution of Athens. Bordes. Connor. (ed. H. 1982. Plato. Historical Writing in the Fourth Century B.) 2002. W. Paris. F. David. Parola del Passato 34: 94-116. Lipka. Gera.

A Companion to Plato’s Republic. E. C. NJ. 1998. Tigerstedt. Popper. . NJ. RE IXA/2: 1928-82. Treu. Princeton.-Xenophon: . K. Trampedach.) 1998. Platon. K. Stockholm. H. The Open Society and its Enemies. M. v. Xenophon. die Akademie. Reeve. 1945.N.D. London. Strauss. Zeno of Citium’s Anti-Utopianism. Philosopher-Kings. In Hodkinson and Powell (eds.1: The Spell of Plato. Rebenich. 1965-78. In Saving the City: 51-68. 1979.) 1-41. The Legend of Sparta in Classical Antiquity. (ed. Chicago. M. und die zeitgenössische Politik. 3 vols. 1975. The Argument and the Action of Plato’s Laws.C. Schofield. N. White. 1988. J. R. 1994. van Wees. S. 1999. The Interpretation of Plato’s Republic. Ober. Oxford. 1999. London. N. L. Princeton. London.P. Ps. Political Dissent in Democratic Athens. 1966. Die Verfassung der Spartaner. Tyrtaeus’ Eunomia. 1951.R. and tr. Darmstadt. Stuttgart.MENN BIBLIOGRAPHY 55 Murphy. IL.


which he also calls eudaimonia or happiness (I 4. But others point to what he says about happiness in Book One after he produces his apparently narrow definition. Aristotle seeks to identify the human good. his discussion of friendship. Aristotle tests his account against what is commonly said about happiness. This account is sketchy.COLLOQUIUM 2 WISHING FOR FORTUNE. where he appeals to the human function and concludes that “the human good is activity of the [rational] soul in accordance with virtue. Some readers insist that in these chapters he also expands his definition of happiness to include the external goods. Introduction In Book One of the Nicomachean Ethics (EN). Some point to what he says about happiness before he comes to the human function argument. and if there are multiple virtues. In EN I 8-12. he seems to give his definition in the seventh chapter. in accordance with the best and most complete virtue” (I 7. and whether some one virtue is best and most complete. and he affirms that goods external to the soul—”external goods”— are necessary for happiness. or to what he says about the good human life outside of Book One in. not to mention friends and lovers. Perhaps the most obvious controversy is this: Does Aristotle really mean that the human good is just virtuous rational activity? Are health and wealth. 1097a22-24 and 1097a25-b21). not part of the goal for the sake of which one should do everything one does? Many readers think that Aristotle does not intend such a narrow account. 1098a20-22): he needs to say what virtuous activity is. CHOOSING ACTIVITY: ARISTOTLE ON EXTERNAL GOODS AND HAPPINESS ERIC BROWN I. 1098a16-18). 1095a14-20) and which he explains as that for the sake of which one should do everything one does (I 7. But the account has enough content to suit Aristotle’s initial purposes (I 7. After introducing the idea (in chapters one through three) and surveying some received accounts of it (in chapters four through six). I tackle just this last part of the question: my exegetical thesis is that Aristotle sticks by his narrow account of happiness from its . 1098a22-b8) and to court interpretive controversy. how many virtues there are. In this essay. say. as Aristotle admits (I 7.

Moreover. because virtue is partly constituted by the correct appreciation of value. I support my exegetical thesis by providing a map of EN I 8-12 as a whole. in turn. “And in a complete life” (EN I 7. but I argue that the transitions throughout EN I 8-12 make Aristotle’s intentions plain. and second. first. 1098a18-20) I start with my exegetical thesis. Aristotle immediately adds. I maintain that Aristotle sticks by his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity after he introduces it in EN I 7. But as I shall argue. he wants us to choose activity while we merely wish for good fortune and the external goods that good fortune brings. I develop my account in terms of Aristotle’s distinction between wish and choice. and to defend this. My account innovates by attributing to Aristotle the view (roughly) that virtuous people have a psychological need for certain external goods. I maintain that in EN I 8-12 Aristotle claims that external goods are necessary for happiness only because they are necessary for virtuous rational activity. Aristotle also believes. II. These previously unacknowledged claims about the relation between wish and choice help to explain why Aristotle believes that external goods are necessary for virtuous activity and thereby happiness. 1098a18-20). and thus to hear in them . “In a complete life” (EN I 7.58 ERIC BROWN introduction in EN I 7 through the rest of Book One. They also seem to me both striking and quite possibly true. Second. to uphold my exegetical thesis. What I propose to show is restricted: I leave aside concerns from Book One that precede the function argument and those from outside Book One. that our capacity to choose virtuously is diminished when we do not get what we wish for. The thorny and muchdiscussed passages that directly pertain to the relation between external goods and Aristotle’s account of happiness are contestable. It is possible to hear in these words a reference to the need for external goods in addition to virtuous activity. There is a challenge to this thesis even before EN I 8-12. First. what I propose to show is unoriginal: the debate over Aristotle’s definition of the human good is well established. that choosing virtuously requires wishing for external goods that cannot be chosen. Third. and others have supported the claim that he sticks to a narrow definition of happiness as virtuous rational activity. Upon completing his function argument and concluding that happiness is virtuous activity. My primary purpose here is to bring them to light. On my view. I offer a new account of why he thinks that external goods are necessary for virtuous rational activity. But I do have three exotic fish to fry.

There is good reason for Aristotle to be making a chronological point. but the transitions that structure EN I 8-12 reveal Aristotle’s intentions much more straightforwardly. nor does one day. emphasis added). it is not obvious. that happiness is wholly instantiated only by a lifetime of virtuous activity. what Aristotle might have argued is a topic of another paper. Epicureans. including Stoics. First. At the start of these chapters. A map of EN I 8-12 shows that Aristotle means to defend his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. The reason for this is simple. For my purposes here. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 59 an emendation of the narrow account of happiness. one might wonder. “Can I wholly instantiate happiness in one burst of virtuous activity?” To answer this question. Scholars usually turn directly to the most relevant passages. which opens them to multiple interpretations. but also from the things that . The most relevant passages are particularly thorny. Once one realizes that happiness just is virtuous activity. it is enough to see that Aristotle’s insistence on “a complete life” concerns time and not external goods. before I turn to EN I 8-12. and in this way neither one day nor a short time makes a man blessed and happy” (EN I 7. but I first want to establish a map of the five chapters. Aristotle’s point concerns time. I must counter this possibility and show that EN I 7 concludes with the narrow definition intact. III. and Aristotle should have said more about it than he does. He says. These philosophers might have wanted to see an argument. Still. 1098a18-20.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. for one swallow does not make a spring. This might seem too obvious to be Aristotle’s point: surely it is obvious that the pursuit of happiness is a lifelong project. 1098b9-12): “We must examine happiness not only from my conclusion and premises. “And in a complete life. This I will let Aristotle do. for he explains what his appendix means. In fact. Aristotle announces the need to test his account of happiness (EN I 8. Aristotle clarifies that happiness is only partly instantiated by a day’s worth of virtuous activity. Thus. thought that happiness is wholly realized by a short period of virtuous activity. some Greeks. and more importantly. and quite possibly some of Aristotle’s contemporaries. there is room for confusion about what constitutes a “complete life” of virtuous activity: is it a completed lifetime or some shorter span? But second. A Map of EN I 8-12 External goods enter in EN I 8-12.

Thus. He explains that the first (EN I 8. He makes quick work of the first two. 1098b20). but are right in at least one respect or even for the most part” (EN I 8. does Aristotle take himself to confirm or reject his narrow definition of happiness? A glimpse at his next major transition. asserting that “it is reasonable that none of these people err entirely. Now. or the single . Aristotle considers five things said about happiness: that (1) the goods of the soul are more properly goods than the goods of the body and the goods external to the soul and the body. then we should expect to see very clear indications of that within chapters eight through twelve. This allows him to conclude that pleasure “belongs to the best activities. but he explicitly backs away from saying that they are unqualifiedly true. Aristotle’s transition at the start of chapter thirteen might be the telescoped expression of a more complicated truth. 1098b20-22). Aristotle argues that each person finds pleasure in what he loves and the virtuous agent loves virtuous activity (EN I 8. 1098b30-1099a10). since he locates happiness in actions and activities and thereby among goods of the soul and not among external goods (EN I 8. at the start of chapter thirteen. (3b) to others to require pleasure in addition. when he considers the view that happiness is a kind of virtue. and these. we must inquire about virtue” (EN I 13. too. Aristotle then works through the next three views more patiently. Let us look. for all facts harmonize with what is true and the truth quickly conflicts with what is false.” So the question is. “Since happiness is a kind of activity of the soul in accordance with complete virtue. 1102a5-6). 1098b1620). But if it were. And when he considers the view that happiness requires pleasure. suggests that Aristotle takes himself to have confirmed his definition. In chapter eight. and (3c) to still others to require external goods. 1098b31). since his definition practically makes happiness living well and faring well (EN I 8. that (2) the happy man lives well and fares well. this appearance could be deceiving. This would be especially perverse if he had a broad definition of happiness in mind. but he also explains how his definition improves on the received view by insisting on virtuous activity and not the mere possession of virtue (EN I 8. 1098b28-29).60 ERIC BROWN are said about it. 1098b12-16) confirms his account. He introduces them together and concedes some truth to them. For he turns to his next topic by saying. and that happiness seems (3a) to some to require virtue. he draws out its harmony with his definition ( . So he insists that both of the first two views harmonize with his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. Then he asserts that the second point harmonizes with his account or definition ( . 1099a7-31).

the most important point is that Aristotle fits his solution to his narrow definition of happiness. and he allows that the achievement of happiness through effort might also be considered providential. 1101a14-16). He does not agree that one has to wait until the very end of a person’s life (EN I 10. it is enough to say that this passage concerns one of five views that are considered. “What. is what we said happiness is” (EN I 8. 1101a14-16). Aristotle puts his point in another way that suggests to some readers a broadened account of happiness. For my purposes here. for stability belongs to none of the human products in the way that it belongs to virtuous activities” (EN I 10. not for just any length of time but for a complete life?” It . The fifth view— that happiness needs external goods—brings us to one of the thorny passages that I am temporarily setting aside. Solon used to say that he would not judge any living person happy. 1100b11-13). prevents one from calling happy a man who is active in accordance with complete virtue and is supplied sufficiently with external goods. in other words. As he puts it. however. for happiness was said to be a kind of activity of the soul in accordance with virtue” (EN I 9.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. “The current puzzle also bears witness to my definition [ ]. Toward the end of the chapter. by divine providence. He argues. 1099a29-31). where he considers an old puzzle about the acquisition of happiness: is happiness acquired by practice and effort. Aristotle tackles a second puzzle. Then. then. that both the third and fourth views harmonize with the narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. “[The solution to the puzzle that] we seek is also perfectly clear from my definition [ ]. This way of putting the point suggests that Aristotle means again to confirm his narrow account of happiness in chapter ten. He rules out the possibility that happiness comes through luck. 1099b9-11)? The broad contours of his solution to this puzzle are clear. in chapter ten. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 61 best of these. though he acknowledges that happiness is not entirely impervious to changes in fortune (EN I 10. because changes in fortune could render his judgment false (Herodotus I 30-32). he insists that it comes through effort. For now. and the other four are all made to harmonize with the narrow definition of happiness. He asks (EN I 10. His response is complicated. Aristotle’s clear strategy in treating these four points is also on display in chapter nine. Aristotle insists that happiness is not easily subject to change. 1101a8-13). or by luck (EN I 9. he notes. So Aristotle asks whether we have to wait until a man is dead to declare him happy. 1099b11-18). 1099b25-26). After insisting that happiness is not acquired by luck. although he backs away from a full discussion of this possibility (EN I 9. To make room for judging a living person happy without courting error.

Aristotle is not seeking a definition of happiness. 1100a18-27). he is completing his response to the test posed by the Solonic puzzle concerning whether we can call a person happy when he is alive. This does not require that one define happiness in terms of both virtuous activity and external goods. all the way to the point of having lived a complete life. Aristotle insists that one is justified in calling a living man happy if he acts virtuously and has a sufficient supply of external goods. one needs to know not just whether he is now acting virtuously (which includes consideration of whether he has enough goods to act virtuously now) but also whether he now has sufficient resources to make virtuous activity possible into the indefinite future. So. It is equally well explained if one defines happiness as virtuous activity and thinks both that happiness requires a complete life and that virtuous activity requires external goods. and its answer does not require a broadened definition of happiness. Aristotle digresses a bit in chapter eleven to address a puzzle that does not directly challenge his definition of happiness. since the fortunes of his descendants might matter (EN I 10. narrow definition to which he has just referred ( . and thus far he has given no explicit indication that this definition is unsatisfactory. Allow me to explain. The tenth chapter does indeed carry out the same strategy that we found in the previous two: it tests and confirms the narrow definition of happiness. More specifically.” It is not redundant to tack the question ‘Does he have enough external goods?’ onto the question ‘Does he act virtuously?’ when one wants to know whether he will continue to act virtuously for a complete life. If one thinks that virtuous activity requires external goods. To know whether a man will continue to act virtuously for a complete life. but for a complete life. he had noted that Solon’s position might be extended. But Aristotle bracketed this extended version of the puzzle . it would be redundant to tack the question ‘Does he have enough external goods?’ onto the question ‘Does he act virtuously?’ But Aristotle’s question demands that one consider whether the man’s external goods are sufficient “not for just any length of time. 1100b11). Having explained that happiness is especially stable because virtuous activity is especially stable. He is in the middle of testing the old. In chapter ten.62 ERIC BROWN is important to keep this question in its context. One might think that one should wait until well after a man’s death before saying that he had been happy. despite the suggestions of scholars to the contrary. Aristotle’s rhetorical question at the end of chapter ten is not in the service of defining happiness. He does this to pick up some residue of his discussion of the Solonic puzzle.

He has put that suggestion aside as absurd. This strongly supports the natural reading of the words that begin and follow EN I 8-12. He merely concedes that there are some posthumous effects on a man without admitting that there are posthumous effects on his happiness (EN I 11. and what is perhaps more impressive. Is happiness something merely to be praised. He has introduced the ordinary view that happiness requires exter- . or is it something to be honored with encomia? He explains that good dispositions and potentialities are fit for praise. 1101b31-34). The Central Argument (EN I 8 1099a31-b8) A. It is time to see whether he can actually do this. Four Inferences Aristotle’s most direct argument concerning the relation between happiness and external goods comes in the thorny passage at the end of chapter eight. he nowhere makes any explicit declaration that takes back or alters his narrow definition. and 1099b8). IV. in chapter eleven. 1100a2930). Note. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 63 by declaring that it would be absurd if one’s happiness were to be changed by events after one’s death (EN I 10. Aristotle returns to testing his narrow account of happiness as virtuous activity. in chapter twelve. He regularly goes out of his way to link the truth in some received view or puzzle to his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. Aristotle returns to the question of what effect posthumous events have. 1100a27-29). 1101b1-9). and he never returns to it. Finally. So virtue is fit to be praised. however. though he allowed that it would also be absurd if ancestors were in no way affected by what happens to their ancestors after they themselves had died (EN I 10. that he does not return to the question of whether a man’s happiness can fluctuate after his death.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. The consistency of Aristotle’s resolve in these chapters is remarkable. but better things are fit to be honored with encomia. virtuous activity fit to be honored (EN I 12. Aristotle wants to concede the importance of external goods without giving up on his claim that the human good is just virtuous activity. He asks. Thus. 1098b23-25 and b30. Accordingly. Thus he recognizes no challenge here to his narrow account of happiness. Aristotle’s conclusion that happiness should be honored with encomia supports his definition of happiness as virtuous activity against those who would identify it with virtue (for whom see EN I 8.

then it would be natural to say that happiness includes both virtuous activity (B) and the external goods that bring blessedness (D). many interpreters construe (D) not as a second reason for (B). then Aristotle affirms that (A) external goods are necessary for happiness precisely because (B) they are needed for virtuous activity. . he would perhaps be even less so if he had thoroughly bad children or friends. (Call that inference one. [G] happiness seems to need this sort of prosperity in addition. for [B] it is impossible or not easy to do fine actions if one is not equipped. while others identify it with excellence. Thus. it is apparent that happiness also needs external goods. but it is frequently misrepresented in English. 1099b3) for supposing that external goods affect our blessedness (inference four). good children. (EN I 8. and by noting in (H) that the whole chain leads some people to mistaken characterizations of happiness. But if (D) is a second direct reason for (A). and [F] moreover. or if his children or friends. and (B) is a reason for (A). For. though good. (E) and (F) are reason for (D). In (A). Now he offers his analysis: [A] Nevertheless. on the one hand. some external goods affect our blessedness. had died. and on other hand ( . for [E] the man who is very ugly in appearance or of low birth or solitary and childless is not entirely happy. and that is why [H] some people identify happiness with good fortune. If (D) is a second reason for (B). This matters to my exegetical thesis.) Finally. and on the other hand. 1998a34). (These are inferences two and three. 1999b2). 1099a32): it is impossible or difficult to do virtuous activities without external goods. and beauty soil blessedness. as we said. as we said. 1099a31-b8) This passage is so thorny that controversy extends even to its translation. This logical structure is quite clear in Aristotle’s Greek.64 ERIC BROWN nal goods. and he has conceded some truth to it (EN I 8. [D] men who lack some things such as good birth. some external goods are tools for virtuous activities. in (C) and (D). (C) and (D) are reasons for (B). 1098b26-29). he introduces two explanations ( … . 1998a34 and 1099b2) of why it is impossible or difficult to do virtuous activities without external goods: on the one hand ( . In sum. In particular. in (E) and (F). Aristotle announces his thesis that happiness requires external goods. Aristotle offers reason ( . I start with the explicit logical relations among the claims. Patience is required. [C] many are done by means of friends and wealth and political power as if by tools. but as a second direct reason for (A). he introduces a reason for his thesis ( . Aristotle concludes his discussion by reiterating in (G) that his thesis follows from the whole chain of inferences.) Then. In (B).

if there were no good defense of the four inferences that Aristotle explicitly marks. First. Aristotle might offer later textual parallels that require a looser reading of this one. I shall show that these reasons do not hold. necessity is said in many ways (Metaphysics 5). I defend the plausibility of Aristotle’s four inferences. He says that virtuous activity is impossible or not easy without external goods. This weaker premise can sustain only the weaker conclusion that happiness is impossible or not easy without external goods. is the sentence ‘Happiness needs external goods. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 65 As I say. and thus it will introduce the relation between wishing and choosing that I am especially eager to explore. Second. In a case . His premise (B) is weaker. In the rest of this section. One does not need much charity to see why the second option provides the better reading. (A) Happiness needs external goods. There is a valid inference in the offing if Aristotle is assuming the narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity: (Definition) Happiness is virtuous activity. Therefore.’ In fact. On Aristotle’s view. To defend my exegetical thesis. (B) Virtuous activity needs external goods. this does not exactly capture Aristotle’s words. Inference One Aristotle first infers (A) that happiness needs external goods from the claim (B) that it is difficult or impossible to do virtuous activities without external goods. one by one. But there might be reason to overlook the explicit import of the Greek. Unfortunately. then charity would summon forth a looser construal of his words. this work will also develop why Aristotle thinks that virtuous activity requires external goods. as he marks them. Consider: it is perfectly reasonable to say that a person needs a car in order to get to campus even though a person could bike or jog the ten miles. according to one. relaxed way in which one might reasonably say that happiness needs external goods. one means only that happiness is difficult or impossible without external goods. and in the next section.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. So either Aristotle is fallaciously inferring a strong conclusion from a weaker premise or his apparently strong conclusion is actually commensurate with his weaker premise. then. Of course. and so. I consider the two important textual parallels from EN I 9-12. B. the Greek’s logical conjunctions tell in favor of my reading and thereby support my exegetical thesis.

and for that reason. Inference Three The next inference is not so clear. The Socrates of Plato’s Euthydemus or some other proto-Stoic could quibble here. that happiness is impossible or not easy without external goods. it is a reason for supposing that (B) virtuous activity needs external goods. This might seem to say that some external goods make a direct contribution to happiness and thus are to be included in the definition of happiness. Now charity can kick in. C. Why should that be? Here is a possibility: (B) virtuous activity needs external goods because (D) blessedness needs external goods. On his view. (ii) blessedness is happiness. There is a broader lesson here. for it is surely possible to insist that virtuous activity is whatever activity the virtuous person would do in the circumstances. by contrast. Rather. virtuous activity must live up to aristocratic ideals. fails to make sense of Aristotle’s inferences as he marks them. But according to the logical structure of the passage. too. But Aristotle has a different position on virtuous activity. D. Reasonable reflection of this sort secures Aristotle’s inference. But this reading. and he insists that they affect the blessedness of life.’ He must mean. Aristotle clearly wants to get from (D) to (B) to (A). If Aristotle’s inference is valid. The meaning of Aristotle’s claim that happiness needs external goods is not fixed independently of his development and defense of the claim. This reading. then he must mean that happiness needs external goods with a relaxed sense of ‘needs. Aristotle introduces external goods that are not instruments for virtuous activity. and it makes his second inference perfectly reasonable. and his argument requires that happiness needs external goods only in a relaxed sense of ‘needs’. gives him (A) . Inference Two Aristotle next gives his first of two reasons why virtuous activity is “impossible or not easy” without external goods: some external goods are needed as tools for virtuous activity. where the circumstances can be whatever you like. and (iii) happiness is virtuous activity. as charity demands. one says that a person needs x for y because we recognize that y is impossible or not easy without x. the dependence of blessedness on external goods (in [D]) is not a direct reason for supposing that (A) happiness requires external goods. as he very reasonably can.66 ERIC BROWN like this. it needs some of the aristocrat’s tools.

coming from a good family). good birth. It is enough for Cooper to illuminate the ways in which the reach of excellent activities is expanded by the opportunities afforded by good looks. We should at least try to understand this. and it does not require that every possible virtuous action (or omission) be straightforwardly dependent upon non-instrumental external goods. for this demonstrates that without these external goods. e. This. one would find it more difficult to act in excellent ways. Controversy partly focuses on his concrete suggestion that ugly people do not have as many opportunities for sex and thus are capable of less grand temperance than beautiful people. while not used by the virtuous person as means to achieve his purposes (as. That is already enough. since Aristotle’s conclusion. In fact.g. as I argue above. is along the right track. Cooper explains. According to Aristotle’s examples of non-instrumental external goods. in turn. does not insist that external goods are strictly necessary for virtuous activity. the causal mechanism is mainly social: the possession of certain non-instrumental external goods confers enhanced social standing and thereby the opportunity to exercise the standard Aristotelian range of excellent actions. e.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 67 already with (D) and (ii). I think. Some critics have flatly rejected Cooper’s idea (see. it has no use for (B) at all. But in fact. John Cooper provides a better explanation of the move from (D) to (B). goodlooking parents of good children. and so he attributes to Aristotle some assumptions about the causal necessity of non-instrumental external goods for the capacity to act virtuously.g. put him in the position where the options for action that are presented to him by his circumstances allow him to exercise his virtues fully and in ways that one might describe as normal for the virtues” (Cooper 1999. But this is a needless distraction. 113). Aristotle says that (D) is a reason for (B). For Cooper. “Some external conditions (being good-looking. which is.. Cooper’s general analysis is still more powerful in light of an especially aristocratic conception of virtuous activity. Botros 1986. his money or personal influence might be). Cooper’s general position is perfectly plausible. any reading that treats ‘blessedness’ and ‘happiness’ as interchangeable will have no need of (B) to get from (D) to (A). a reason for (A). To act as a paradigmatic aris- . and what remains is to make sense of the causal mechanism that links non-instrumental external goods and the capacity to act virtuously and to explain why Aristotle puts the point in terms of blessedness. 298-299).. He points to a passage in Book Seven where Aristotle says that the lack of external goods impedes virtuous activity (EN VII 13. and good children. 1153b1719). having good children. our virtuous activity requires that we be well-born.

they oppress and spoil blessedness. for they bring pains and impede many activities” (EN I 10.68 ERIC BROWN tocrat. to the extent that virtuous activity requires taking pleasure in it. One who lacks these goods is simply incapable of acting up to the standards of aristocratic excellence. pain makes perfectly virtuous activity impossible. which requires at least nobility if not beauty. This is quite plausible. 1100b28-30). Second. To fill the second gap first: there is also a psychological mechanism. In fact. robustly necessary for virtuous activity. nor why the point is expressed in terms of soiled blessedness. He says. Thus. Cooper’s social mechanism specifies how this might be so. as we might render ). non-instrumental external goods are . Cooper’s analysis does not explain Aristotle’s particular locution that “men who lack some things such as good birth. What do these ways tell us about the third inference in the chapter eight passage? One way clearly provides support: when the loss of non-instrumental external goods soils blessedness by impeding activities. First. there are two ways in which the loss of non-instrumental external goods soils blessedness. but also in our dashed hopes. these external goods are straightforwardly. for pain cuts into the pleasure of acting well. are somehow responsible for soiling blessedness. The difficulties posed by lacking what our society esteems lie not merely in the diminished opportunities afforded us by others. this is what Aristotle says in a chapter ten passage that is clearly relevant to the text currently under consideration. but Aristotle also clearly mentions a role for pain (or grief. and to the extent that perfectly virtuous activity requires taking wholehearted. But this does not fully explain Aristotle’s third inference. and one must extend one’s family honor with good children. one must be recognized as a superior. pain-free pleasure in it. good children. for two reasons. 1099b2-3). on the aristocratic conception. So according to the passage in chapter ten. the social mechanism that Cooper highlights does not exhaust Aristotle’s reasons why noninstrumental external goods are needed for virtuous activity. and so. pain makes it more difficult to act virtuously. Cooper’s social mechanism might be suggested by the mention of impeded activities. “When many great events occur badly. and not the lack of non-instrumental external goods per se. At least. and beauty soil blessedness” (EN I 8. It explains neither why the men. it is also diminishing virtuous activities. But the other way in which chapter ten reports that the loss of non-instrumental external goods soils blessedness also supports the third inference in chapter eight if the pain or grief that soils blessedness also diminishes virtuous activity.

in Book III. [2] one can wish for but cannot choose what is possible but not under one’s control. just for the sake of one’s friend (EN VIII 2. but we choose the things by which we will be healthy.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. but no one chooses such things.g. So whenever we are talking about goods that one might like to possess. 1156b29-31). Further. worse. and we wish to be happy and say that we do. For [4]. moreover. we are talking about objects of wish.. For [1] there is no choice of impossible things. choice seems to concern the things that are in our own power. The third point calls for a slight digression because it might seem obscure or. (EN III 2. that some discussions of external goods are about what I call mere wish. in general. The first three points spell this out: [1] one can wish for but cannot choose what is impossible. chapter two. for immortality. and he does not explicitly invoke wish at all in Book One. Here is how Aristotle distinguishes: But neither is choice wish. For example. and one can wish for one’s friend to enjoy a good. 1155b31). including external goods. But wish is surely relevant. that a particular actor or athlete should win in a competition. 1111b19-30) I take this last point to sum up Aristotle’s contrast: [4] choice concerns only the things in our power but wish ranges more broadly. but only the things that he thinks could come to be by his own efforts. To develop the psychological mechanism that Aristotle invokes and to explain his claim that “men who lack” non-instrumental external goods “soil blessedness..” This might seem odd. And [2] wish can also concern things that could in no way be done by one’s own efforts. but it does not sound right to say that we choose to be happy. e. in addition to being socially necessary. though it seems near to wish. [3] wish is more for the end. we wish to be healthy. and [3] one can wish but cannot choose to enjoy the goal of one’s endeavors. but there is wish <even> for impossible things. and if someone should say that he chose something impossible he would be thought silly. and what appears good to someone is an object of wish in relation to him. one can wish for a friendship (EN VIII 3. As Aristotle explains in EN III 4. for instance.” I turn to his distinction between “wish” and “choice.g. The distinction between wish and choice suggests. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 69 psychologically necessary for the capacity to act virtuously. Aristotle’s point is that our activity often aims at a goal whose coming about the activity itself . e. choice for what promotes the end. when he is trying to explain what choice is. because it is the attitude one has toward any good one would like to possess. a threat to my exegetical thesis. the good without qualification is the object without qualification of wish. Aristotle distinguishes between wish and choice only later in the Nicomachean Ethics.

Rather. and Aristotle’s insistence that happiness is a complete life of virtuous activity is crucial (cf. I might act so as to bring about a state of affairs even though my activity by itself will not suffice to bring that state of affairs about. It is significant enough if Aristotle does not shy away from the fact that some important examples of them are. Aristotle has objects of mere wish in mind as the non-instrumental external goods needed for blessedness. This can happen in either of two ways. as I say. and it provides good reason to think of good children as something to be wished for and not chosen. The second kind of case is especially relevant to explaining why happiness cannot be chosen though virtuous activity can be chosen. but my setting words to paper today cannot ensure that I will write a commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. It is not just that some people are infertile or that death in childhood was a common feature of the ancient world. For if this is so. we can be certain. section II above). Of course. he partly instantiates happiness. To judge by his examples in that argument. we merely wish for—are relevant to the argument at the end of EN I 8. knew of Socrates’ challenge. Alternatively. then even mere wishes are relevant to Aristotle’s case for claiming that non-instrumental external goods are necessary for virtuous . Protagoras 319e-320b).70 ERIC BROWN cannot ensure. hygiene. For example: I might set words to paper to write a commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. good children cannot. EN III 5. Physical beauty is also reasonably thought to be beyond our control— there is only so much that exercise. Aristotle need not think that all non-instrumental external goods are objects of mere wish. I might act so as to begin a temporally extended action whose completion my current activity cannot guarantee. 1114a23-25). When a man acts virtuously for the sake of happiness. cosmetics. even when children can be chosen. The first two points about what we can wish for but cannot choose— what. Good children might seem to be a different matter. but there is reason to think that Aristotle would not think so. but eating well and exercising cannot ensure that I will be healthy. but he cannot guarantee the full instantiation of happiness because his acting virtuously here and now cannot guarantee a complete life of virtuous activity. Socrates registers this to query the teachability of virtue: he points out that great Athenians have had ne’er-do-wells for children (Meno 92d-95a. For example: I eat well and exercise so that I will continue to enjoy good health. Good birth is obviously beyond our power to choose. though these points go some distance toward making good children objects of wish rather than choice. and the like can do (cf. Aristotle. First.

This suggests that what is often called idle wish because it does not give rise to action is not entirely idle. It also deepens the account of the social mechanism by making possible the idea of shared wishes (and even shared mere wishes): many of the opportunities for the good-looking well-born who have good children are available because members of society converge in thinking that good looks. These points deserve more careful consideration. It also raises questions about why one would not simply jettison one’s wishes for objects one cannot choose. widely ignored by the translators. So Aristotle cannot mean by “blessedness” exactly what he means by “happiness” without begging the question. he means happiness as he has defined it. and good children are features of the aristocratic ideal worth wishing for (and even merely wishing for). But the role of unfulfilled wishes helps to explain Aristotle’s meaning by highlighting why he would assign responsibility to men’s attitudes or diminished capacities. unfulfilled mere wishes) as the source of pain and difficulty. Indeed. The distinction illuminates the psychological mechanism by highlighting unfulfilled wishes (and. On the other hand. good birth. What does he mean by “happiness” in (A)? According to the first inference. these are just the points that Aristotle could make by saying that men who lack some external goods soil blessedness. in fact. It should be something closer to the . I return to these questions in the last section. and suggested by Aristotle’s shift in terms. The distinction between wish and choice can be used to articulate more fully the mechanisms by which external goods are necessary for virtuous activity. insofar as its satisfaction (or not) affects one’s ability to act virtuously.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. But if one has wishes in mind. On the one hand. Aristotle’s odd suggestion that the deprived men (and not the lack of external goods per se) are responsible for soiling blessedness is unexplained by Cooper’s social mechanism and. the reference to “blessedness” suggests the ideal life that is the summation of what can be wished for. in part. which is a reason why (A) happiness needs external goods. What does he mean by “blessedness” in (D)? It must be something different. and thus offers a way of understanding Aristotle’s premise about blessedness without assuming his ultimate conclusion about happiness. This much is required by the logic. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 71 activity. the temporally complete life of virtuous activity that is the goal for the sake of which we should do everything we do. Cooper’s social mechanism does not adequately explain why Aristotle expresses the importance of non-instrumental external goods by saying that “blessedness” is soiled in their absence. Recall that Aristotle argues that (D) the need of blessedness for external goods is a reason why (B) virtuous activity needs external goods.



Aristotle’s shift in terms. It should be something closer to the commonsense view of a happy life, too, because in this passage Aristotle is testing his technically derived definition of happiness against ordinary views. I suggest that the role of wishes offers a helping hand here. I suggest that Aristotle invokes “blessedness” as the ordinarily conceived life that optimally realizes all that one might wish for. This construal obeys the constraints Aristotle faces: he needs to infer (A) from (B) and (B) from (D) without begging the question, and he needs to test his theoretical account of happiness in (A) against ordinary views about happiness. It also highlights the wishes that help to explain the inferences. Obviously, if blessedness is a life that optimally realizes everything one might wish for, then the lack of some non-instrumental external goods that one might wish for soils blessedness. That is the basic idea of premise (D), though Aristotle recasts the point so as to bring out the role that men’s attitudes or capacities play. By casting the point in this odd way, Aristotle hints at the mechanisms by which the lack of noninstrumental external goods also impairs virtuous activity: when I do not enjoy what I wish for, I experience pain, which adversely affects my capacity to act virtuously, and when I do not enjoy what we wish for, I experience diminished social opportunities, which adversely affects my capacity to act virtuously. So the role of wishes helps to explain the premise (D), the curious way in which Aristotle states that premise, and the inference from the premise to the claim that virtuous activity needs external goods. To sum up a long discussion, I want to emphasize three claims about Aristotle’s third inference at the end of EN I 8. First, Aristotle means to derive from an ordinary notion of happiness some support for his theoretical definition of happiness. This is plain from the logic, which requires that “happiness” in (A) be distinct from “blessedness” in (D), and it is plain from the general context of the chapter, in which Aristotle is testing his theoretical account against ordinary views of happiness. The distinction between the two conceptions of happiness can be put this way: on Aristotle’s theoretical account, the goal of living is not what is ordinarily recognized as happiness but something shown by analysis to be the practical aim that structures and makes possible what is ordinarily recognized as happiness. Second, Aristotle assumes that there are two mechanisms by which non-instrumental external goods are needed for virtuous activity: they are needed for the enhanced social standing that makes possible the full range of virtuous activity, and they are needed for the avoidance of psychological pain that would adversely affect the virtue of one’s activity.



Third, my first two points can be cast intelligibly in terms of fulfilled and unfulfilled wishes, with even a role for mere wishes for things that cannot be chosen. To recast the first point: on the ordinary view, happiness is the optimal fulfillment of wishes, and on Aristotle’s view, the practical aim of virtuous activity makes possible the optimal fulfillment of wishes. To recast the second point: Aristotle also recognizes that unfulfilled wishes undermine our capacity for virtuous activity because our failure to enjoy what society wishes for adversely affects our opportunities for virtuous activity and because our failure to enjoy what we wish for adversely our capacity to act with painless excellence. Recasting Aristotle’s argument in terms of wishes is permitted by Aristotle’s account of wishing and choosing, though he himself does not do it. There are two reasons to recast the argument: first, to provide a richer explanation of Aristotle’s position in EN I 8-12, and second, to make more explicit some challenges latent in that position. I pursue the second line in section six. First, there is more work to do to secure the explanation of Aristotle’s position in EN I 8-12. E. Inference Four Thus far, I have tracked three of Aristotle’s inferences in EN I 8, 1099a31b8. He argues that happiness needs external goods because virtuous activity needs external goods, and then he argues that virtuous activity needs external goods first because it needs some external goods as instruments and second because it needs other, non-instrumental external goods (some of which are objects of mere wish), for social and psychological reasons. Now he backs up his claim about non-instrumental external goods with a final inference as follows:
…and on the other hand, [D] men who lack some things such as good birth, good children, and beauty soil blessedness; for [E] the man who is very ugly in appearance or of low birth or solitary and childless is not entirely happy, and [F] he would perhaps be even less so if he had thoroughly bad children or friends, or if his good children or friends had died. (EN I 8, 1099b2-6)

Is this final inference intelligible and defensible as Aristotle presents it? Again, it is tempting to suppose that Aristotle is simply asserting that happiness simply includes the non-instrumental external goods like good looks, good birth, and good children. On the assumption that happiness and blessedness are the same thing, that would make ready sense of the relations among (D), (E), and (F). But as we have seen before, it would also ignore the earlier inferences that Aristotle explicitly marks. Accord-



ing to his logical conjunctions, he is trying to show that non-instrumental external goods are necessary for happiness because they are necessary for virtuous activity. That inference would be utterly unnecessary if Aristotle were assuming that non-instrumental external goods are necessary as constituents of happiness. Again, we should construe all of Aristotle’s inferences as he explicitly marks them, unless we cannot otherwise make sense of them that way. As it happens, we can make sense of the last inference. The last inference’s conclusion is the premise of the third inference. As a premise, it is essentially a commonsense thought. How could Aristotle support the essentially commonsense claim that men who lack good looks, good birth, and good children soil blessedness? Essentially, by asking his audience to check their commonsense intuitions. Aristotle does not give independent reasons to suppose that the ordinary view of happiness requires noninstrumental external goods. Rather, he calls to mind commonsense intuitions about how good looks, good birth, and good children are fundamental to the ordinary view of the happy life, by suggesting that being ugly, low-born, or childless would make our lives less happy and that being deprived of some external goods by death might (“perhaps,” ) make our lives even worse off. If we assent to these judgments, then we should agree to the more general claim that the lack of non-instrumental external goods soils blessedness. The fourth inference backs up my analysis of the third inference in two additional ways. First, it is easily recast into the vocabulary of fulfilled and unfulfilled wishes. In these terms, Aristotle is securing the claim that fulfilled wishes are necessary for blessedness as the optimal fulfillment of wishes, and he does this by isolating the significance of some particular unfulfilled wishes. Second, it again demonstrates Aristotle’s penchant for expressing an ordinary point in extraordinary ways. In (D), Aristotle describes the importance of non-instrumental external goods in such a way as to highlight the responsibility of men’s attitudes and capacities for soiled blessedness. In (E), he expresses the ordinary thought that noninstrumental external goods are necessary for happiness with an unusual word for ‘happy’, , instead of the more common . Insofar as suggests that one “tends to be” or “is likely to be” happy rather than someone who flatly is happy, Aristotle’s choice might suggest further that the lack of non-instrumental external goods does not necessarily undermine happiness, but only tends to. That would serve his purposes very well, whether it accurately reflects the ordinary view or not.



The fourth inference also finishes off a brilliant argument. Aristotle’s initial premises (E) and (F) are commonsense claims that motivate the thought that blessedness or happiness, the ordinarily conceived state in which our wishes are optimally fulfilled, requires external goods such as good birth, good looks, and good children. These are the very claims that challenge Aristotle’s narrow definition of happiness; they make it seem implausible to say that happiness is merely virtuous activity. Aristotle shows his genius by arguing, through a series of careful inferences, that the ordinary thoughts actually support his narrow definition. He is able to do this because the external goods fundamental to the commonsense claims also make a difference to our capacity for virtuous activity, or, as I would like to put it, the fulfillment of the wishes that are fundamental to the commonsense claims also makes a difference to our capacity for virtuous activity.

V. Parallel Texts in EN I 9-12 Some readers will no doubt resist my reading of Aristotle’s treatment of external goods at the end of EN I 8. In spite of the logical structure of that argument and in spite of the intentions that litter the transitions of EN I 812, they will continue to insist that his distinction between two kinds of external goods differentiates between those external goods that are tools for virtuous activity and those that are constituents of happiness as Aristotle understands it. For support within EN I 8-12, they will point to two texts that parallel the argument at the end of EN I 8. So I now consider both of these texts briefly. The first occurs in chapter nine, where Aristotle is discussing the puzzle about how happiness is acquired. He notes, “Of the remaining goods [viz., the external goods], some belong necessarily [viz., to the happy man], and others are naturally useful and cooperative as tools.” This, taken all by itself, might suggest that some external goods are necessary as constituents of happiness (cf. Irwin 1985, 95). But the sentence does not occur all by itself. It immediately follows a sentence in which Aristotle repeats his definition of happiness as “a certain sort of activity of the soul in accordance with virtue” (EN I 9, 1099b25-26). So Aristotle should not be taken to deny or alter his definition of happiness by referring to those external goods that belong necessarily to happiness. He can and should be taken to



claim that some non-instrumental external goods are necessary conditions of happiness because they are necessary conditions of virtuous activity. The second parallel passage occurs in chapter ten, where Aristotle is trying to oppose Solon’s advice without denying that fortune has an impact on happiness. I have already made use of this passage in part:
When many great events occur well, they will make a life more blessed (for they naturally add adornment, and the use of them comes to be fine and excellent), and conversely when many great events occur badly, they oppress and spoil blessedness, for they bring pains and impede many activities. (EN I 10, 1100b25-30)

The explanation of good fortune’s effects might again be taken to assume that some external goods are parts of happiness independently of virtuous activity. Again, though, the context tells against this reading, for Aristotle is about to say, “If activities are controlling for life, as we said, then none of the blessed could become wretched” (EN I 10, 1100b33-34). It is possible to understand this as follows: goods of fortune matter, but in the right circumstances, virtuous activity makes the decisive contribution (see Irwin 1985, 102). But Aristotle does not say that virtuous activity makes the decisive contribution in the right circumstances. He says that activities are controlling on the heels of insisting that virtue shines through in terrible circumstances (EN I 10, 1100a30-33), and he reminds us (“as we said”) of his earlier discussion of how virtue is controlling. In the earlier discussion—earlier in the same chapter—Aristotle argues against following a man’s fortunes to assess his happiness:
Or is it not at all right to follow his fortunes? For “the well or badly” is not in these things; rather, human life needs them in addition, as we said, and activities in accordance with virtue are controlling for happiness, while opposite activities are controlling for the opposite. (EN I 10 1100b8-11)

Here Aristotle clearly refers back again (“as we said”), this time to the passage at the end of chapter eight in which he argues that external goods are necessary for happiness because they are necessary for virtuous activity. So he is saying that one should look to virtuous activity, and not to the goods of fortune, to determine whether a man is happy. As if his insistence on the narrow definition of happiness were unclear, Aristotle’s next point is that “the current puzzle also bears witness to my definition [ ], for stability belongs to none of the human products in the way that it belongs to virtuous activities” (EN I 10, 1100b11-13). In its context, then, Aristotle’s allowance that external goods make a difference to happiness cannot without serious inconsistency say that they make some difference to the final goal independently of their effect on



virtuous activity. His allowance can and should be taken in either of two ways. Aristotle might have the ordinary notion of happiness in mind, for that is the idea of a life that optimally fulfills our wishes and such a life requires external goods for reasons independent of their effect on virtuous activity. Alternatively, Aristotle might trust his audience to recall the analysis of external goods he has already given, in chapter eight. If one does this, then one will know that external goods make a difference to the final goal because some of them are tools for virtuous activity, others are crucial to social opportunities for virtuous activity, and all are objects of wish whose absence causes pain and thereby diminishes virtuous activity. Either way, there is nothing in chapter ten to require that Aristotle adds external goods to his conception of happiness, and plenty of explicit evidence that he stands by his narrow definition. Once again, then, Aristotle’s point is that although external goods are constituents of happiness as it is ordinarily conceived, they contribute only as necessary conditions for—not as constituents of—the practical goal that makes life worth living. In the terms I used earlier, external goods are part of the blessedness (or happiness) that sums up all our wishes, but not of happiness as Aristotle understands it, for happiness as Aristotle understands it is the more limited practical goal of any agent who has a chance to enjoy the blessedness that sums up all our wishes.

VI. Wishing Well This ends the defense of my exegetical thesis. I have argued that Aristotle stands by his narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity when he tries to accommodate the ordinary thought that external goods are needed for happiness. On my account, Aristotle’s reasoning is readily intelligible in terms of wishes. The ordinary thought rests on an account of wishes in a very straightforward way: we wish for a range of external goods, and if we do not enjoy these goods, then, quite obviously, we fail to live the life of optimally fulfilled wishes. Aristotle wants to accommodate this thought with his narrow account of happiness, and so he explains that when we fail to enjoy the objects of our wishes, our capacity for virtuous activity is diminished, by psychological and social mechanisms. In this way, Aristotle’s narrow definition of the human good delivers the same result that ordinary reflection on happiness does, by taking account of the causal significance, both social and psychological, of wishes.

We wish for friendship. they are beyond our power. also develop preferences in unnatural ways because we are corrupted by the teachings of our society and by the misleading appearances of things. Why should these matter at all to a life of virtuous activity? Why should we not change our wishes to lessen the impact of fortune? The two problems are related.” On their account. But the Stoics do not think that wishes exhaust our reasonable “pro attitudes. as valuable. Most of us. The Stoics think of wish as Aristotle thinks of wish without qualification: wish is reasonable desire for the good. But were we to ward off corruption and develop our preferences in a purely natural way. we are supposed to do everything for the sake of it. they are restrictive about what things are good: only virtue is. Moreover. and before I conclude I want to defend the merits of Aristotle’s position as I interpret it. like health and wealth. and the rest. would a virtuous person wish for these other goods? Another problem concerns some of the particular goods that Aristotle identifies as objects of wish. we would come to a cor- . So although the Stoic agent can share many preferences with the Aristotelian.78 ERIC BROWN But the reasoning about wishes that I attribute to Aristotle might seem to leave him open to two serious objections. good children. we can and should recognize other things. One problem with Aristotle’s account of wishes—at least as I present it here—is that our wishes range beyond the goal for the sake of which we should do everything that we do. good. That is one central way in which the Stoic lessens the impact of fortune. I will state the objections and develop responses that an Aristotelian might give. the Stoic’s preferences are mere preferences and not the risky wishes of the Aristotelian. and it is not subject to the same psychological ramifications or the same social ramifications (should we all decide merely to prefer health and wealth instead of wishing for it). The Stoics also provide a counterpoint to Aristotle on the first problem. strictly speaking. and one might capture the underlying worry that they share as follows: on what grounds would Aristotle identify some wishing as wishing well? The Stoics provide an excellent counterpoint. unfortunately. How can this be? If virtuous activity is the goal. wishes are not risky. and we can and should prefer to have them. Why. for the Stoics. then. wealth. This is perhaps obvious in the case of the second problem. good looks. Some of them are objects of mere wish. They explain that we have preferences for things other than the good because we naturally develop preferences before we can have any notion of the good. but our goal is simply virtuous activity. To do this. So. any wisher wishes for what cannot be easily lost. But a preference is a weaker attachment than a wish.

the claim that at least some external goods have at least some value independent of virtuous activity.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. She faces no choice between the good—the rational harmony that is her knowledge and virtue—and her preferences. Rather. the Aristotelian needs to have certain attitudes in order to have the psychological makeup required for virtue because. and we would see that desire for the good does not replace our earlier preferences. then it cannot be right to say that happiness is simply virtuous activity. The thesis of independent external value is compatible with the narrow definition. after all. Scholars on all sides agree about the import of this thesis. Why do we wish for things other than virtuous activity? We just do. Indeed. So if Aristotle accepts the thesis of independent external value. the virtuous agent has the correct appreciation of what things are valuable. except insofar as our wishing for them is a necessary constituent of our virtue. This is an important point. so too an Aristotelian needs to have certain wishes for certain goods other than virtuous activity in order to be virtuous. The good is rational harmony.” Why should we wish for things other than virtuous activity? We should not. and so one who has developed naturally and has apprehended the good desires the rational harmony of her own preferences and commitments as her good. But this is a mistake. because the person who acts solely for the sake of virtuous activity still needs to wish for things that he values independently of virtuous activity in order to be psychologically capable of virtuous activity. when we are (hopefully) learning “the that” of virtue before we have any grasp of “the because. then it seems that it must make an independent contribution to happiness. . and if external value makes an independent contribution to happiness. The point here is not that the Aristotelian needs certain external goods for virtuous activity and so had better wish for them. We acquire these wishes in childhood. If there is independent external value. to seek harmony is to seek to maintain and act on the preferences that are parts of a harmonious set. he must reject the narrow definition of happiness as virtuous activity. Just as a Stoic needs to have certain preferences for certain states of affairs in order to enjoy psychological harmony. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 79 rect apprehension of the good. I distinguish: there are the wishes—some wishes are necessary for the sake of virtuous activity—and there are the objects of wishes— these objects need not be valued for the sake of virtuous activity. Nothing prevents the Aristotelian from adopting the Stoic’s response to the first problem. Much of the scholarly debate over Aristotle on external goods has been predicated on what I call the thesis of independent external value. in the cosmos as a whole and in the mind of a human sage.

and adopt weaker pro attitudes towards so-called “goods of fortune?” The initial reply might be that the Stoics misrepresent what things are valuable. wealth. If philosophical ethics is a search for reflective equilibrium and if our pre-theoretical intuitions strongly take health. The agent’s wishes are complicated. But what about the second problem facing Aristotle’s treatment of wish? How would an Aristotelian justify having these wishes for these objects? Why should we not simply restrain our wishes. and any smart fan of Stoicism will concede that the Stoic ideal is difficult. though the action he chooses might be aimed at an object of wish for its own sake. Indeed. wealth. as it happens. and the rest to be goods. These wishes might suggest to the agent a huge range of possible activities. Such a maneuver is very weak. just for his friend’s sake (see EN VIII 2. and we do this even though. for example. say. Physical beauty. but who always chooses activity. practically speaking. one could concede that the Stoic ideal is. in order to be virtuous. and the rest to be goods. 1155b31). and they include mere wishes. independent of our virtuous activity. So he chooses a virtuous action for its own sake. Otherwise. he takes the posi- . The presence of any Stoically minded agent threatens it. then the Aristotelian position is favored. The picture here is of an agent who wishes for all sorts of goods for their own sake (and for some goods for instrumental reasons. But this reply is unlikely to be persuasive. But the agent chooses one action out of the many possible actions by recognizing the right thing to do in his particular circumstances. Indeed. because the agent wishes good things for his friend. A cleverer Aristotelian might try to meet the challenge meta-philosophically. Is there no account the Aristotelian can give to bolster her claims about what things are to be wished for? A lazy Aristotelian might try to insist that the Stoic alternative is psychologically impossible and Stoic ethics mere bluff. the agent would not be appreciating value correctly. as well). each for the sake of some object of wish. might be to bake a cake for a friend. just is a good. impossible in the current environment. he would not be virtuous.80 ERIC BROWN we must wish for some objects for their own sake. so long as one insisted that reformed institutions could make the ideal possible. to refute the lazy Aristotelian. our wishing for these objects has an effect on our capacity for virtuous activity. and anyone who does not see that is mistaken. One of them. some might invoke this sort of commitment to explain Aristotle’s actual position: because Aristotle is so keen “to save the appearances” and the appearances take health.

otherwise. culturally insulated pocket of possibilities. But the Stoics insist that human nature constrains the possibilities: we are naturally such as to have certain preferences. Multiple sets of preferences could be coherent. This response. The Aristotelian can and should say that the Stoics are wrong about human nature. isolates something important about Aristotle’s treatment of wish. An ethics aimed at action rightly focuses on choosing activities. That is. But the important point is that the disagreement is over broadly empirical questions that cut to the heart of our chances of living well. and he recognizes that what we wish for matters for what we can choose. WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. we must wish for certain things as human beings. The Stoics say that psychological harmony requires having certain preferences.WISHING FOR FORTUNE. too. LOUIS . Worse. We can disagree with both sides of Aristotle’s claim. But this approach does not bode well for Aristotle. not available for choosing. This might seem easy to reject. think that most people are deeply mistaken about what things are good. about what wishes are required for a good human life and about the impact of unfulfilled wishes. So if you want to know what preferences a person with a coherent psychology must have. we will not be capable of choosing actions in accordance with human excellence. CHOOSING ACTIVITY 81 tion he does. Many of the external goods that lead people to say that happiness depends in large measure on good fortune are objects of mere wish. can and should argue that human nature requires stronger attachments to goods other than virtuous activity. since he strove for equilibrium only in a small. and so a coherent psychology does not seem to require any particular preferences. the meta-philosophical assumptions will get no grip on those who suspect that most people are about as well off in practical knowledge as they are in theoretical knowledge. Stoics. you should study human nature and particularly natural human development. And as we wish for certain things. I think that the Aristotelian has a better justification available if she simply meets the Stoics head on. we must have our wishes fulfilled. for example. by both a social and a psychological mechanism. But Aristotle does not believe that we can surrender our mere wishes. otherwise. our capacity for choosing actions in accordance with human excellence will be diminished.

but overlap does not logically demand coincidence. From his examples and discussion. Aristotle argues that the lack of blessedness cannot take away complete happiness. and not merely present occasionally and extrinsically. One cannot argue the inverse that blessedness is possible without the kind of happiness defined by Aristotle in terms of virtue. can easily not include happiness or blessedness. GURTLER.” however. Professor Brown presents a careful reading of EN I 8-12 as a way of defending and clarifying that Aristotle maintains consistently the definition of happiness as virtuous. as Brown infers. I would like to offer two comments as a way of clarifying the argument. Blessedness is not reducible to common opinion. The discussion in EN I 8-9 entails an overlap with common opinion. My examination of Book X led me to realize that the phrase is being used by Aristotle not to determine how long happiness lasts. rational activity. I find it confirms my findings on happiness based on a reading of EN X 1-8 that also uses activity as key for unraveling the complex interrelation of the three activities. It seems to me that discussion of the ‘complete life’ has long been off track. adding those elements of fortune outside one’s control.J. 70). _________ 1 Brown maintains that “blessedness” refers to the common opinion about happiness as including “all that one might wish for” (p. 1 define happiness in various degrees for Aristotle. but whether a life according to virtue (EN I 7) or a contemplative life (EN X 7-8) is possible for a human being. This does not seem logically convincing nor likely. Finally. Brown continues this by calling the phrase ‘chronological. In these chapters. One concerns what Aristotle means by a complete life and the other on the scope of Aristotle’s narrow definition. but Brown indicates that in each case Aristotle subtly uses the objection. whether happiness can occur in short bursts of activity or must be prolonged over a lifetime (and even beyond it). chosen for themselves by the perfectly blessed man. articulating some of the assumptions that plausibly lay behind Aristotle’s position. as Aristotle understands them. These activities. as including things that some may wish for. Some common opinions about “all that one might wish for. Brown’s introduction of the distinction between wishing for fortune and choosing activity to help resolve some of these issues strikes me as the right kind of move to make. to reinforce his definition. . but is related to happiness. based on common opinions. S.’ He seems to mean durational.COMMENTARY ON BROWN GARY M. Aristotle raises a variety of objections to that narrow definition.

This usage is illustrated in his comment in EN I 9 that we do not call children happy. . While the introduction of ‘length’ seems to _________ 2 In discussion. is a complete activity not because it lasts for a long or short time. My defense of the poor swallow rests on Brown’s present analysis of EN I 8-12 and my complementary analysis of EN X 7-8. the question a ‘complete life’ seeks to answer is formal rather than durational. as he marks them. because it is necessary that happiness is “both of complete virtue and of a complete life” ( . 63-64). This usage helps us to understand why Aristotle defines happiness as an activity and not as a habit or disposition. then charity would summon forth a looser construal of his words. In Book I. he adds: “assuming a complete length of life. leaving no reason to ignore the clear import of the Greek and chase the swallow away like some unwelcome Canada goose.). p. happiness cannot be an occasional or chance event.. as if more swallows or more days together would somehow make it spring. but something that occurs in a complete life.COMMENTARY ON BROWN 83 but essentially and whenever appropriate. Aristotle develops this usage in connection with the whole. for ( ) nothing incomplete is associated with happiness” (X 7 1177b25-26). In defense. something formally the same at every instance. Seeing. 1100a5). “one swallow does not make a spring” (I 7 1098a18). which are accidental qualifications. This is not a matter of duration. for example. Aristotle’s comment is laconic. let me quote him: “But there might be reason to overlook the explicit import of the Greek. Professor Brown suggested getting rid of the poor swallow and the one fine day as befogging the clear meaning of a “complete life” (the very question at issue). The other use relies on the common meaning of as indicating what is full-grown or mature. The ‘complete’ side of the phrase has roots in two complementary uses. If we look at the text where a “complete life” occurs in Book I. neither one day nor a short time makes one blessed and happy. but because it is formally the same at every instant. In Book X. One is related to his technical distinction between activity as complete and motion as incomplete. First. if there were no good defense of the four inferences that Aristotle explicitly marks. nor does one fine day. Second. a variation of the phrase recurs in a context where the meaning can be determined with more precision. Similarly. properly speaking. 2 Spring is defined independently and not by these accidental. spring is more an activity than a motion. where both terms are opposed to the indefinite (cf. regardless of the presence of a swallow or a fine day. Physics III 6 207a7ff. At the point where Aristotle has defined the nature of happiness as the activity of intellect. Similarly. That is. Aristotle alludes to a popular saying. temporal events. he says. leading easily to misconstruing its meaning. Aristotle might offer later textual parallels that require a looser reading of this one” (Brown.

J. like a tragedy. IN. and is even the true self. is not a whole that can appear all at once. The first is whether happiness. now defined as contemplation. its objects. shows that refers to the wholeness of a sequence of events over time as distinct from a spatial magnitude whose wholeness can be taken in all at once. while a human life is blessed insofar as it is similar to that divine activity and the life of animals has no happiness since they are incapable of contemplation. A contemplative life.84 GARY M. however small and higher than the composite. that the activity of happiness could at most occur by chance or haphazardly for human beings. nod 3 in the direction of duration. is possible for human beings at all. He uses this to refer to the contemplative activity of the gods. mentioned in his discussion in Book X 8. One is already implicit in Book I 7. I will add to the evidence for Brown’s thesis from my analysis of Book X. The second problem makes explicit why one might think happiness occurs by chance or haphazardly. stated in Book X 8 as an objection: as divine. Augustine’s Press. The Poetry of Philosophy (South Bend. is in fact the defining part of the human. but defines that complete activity whose pleasure is proper to a human being. that is intrinsically united under the same formality. 1999). Aristotle’s answer to this objection does not concern duration but the fact that intellect and its activity. but whether or not such a life can be contemplative in some real way. The subsequent discussion in EN X 8-9 brings out two complementary ideas about the completeness of happiness and thus also how this length of life is complete. contemplative and otherwise. 52. In this case. S.” The Review of Metaphysics. 56. 4 Aristotle at X 8 introduces another variation of the phrase under review. 56 (2003) 801-834. 4 “The Activity of Happiness in Aristotle’s Ethics. This aspect.’ That is. St. Aristotle reminds us that intellect. happiness is neither occasional nor extrinsic. The second aspect of this completeness is that a human life is an integrated whole. The implication is that a human life is happy not in terms of the quantity of time spent in contemplation. the clause emphasizes the word ‘complete. in fact. and thus a human life could not be taken as happy. a life of contemplation is beyond the human and thus should not be pursued (X 8 1177b33). GURTLER. but as a sequence of activities. a whole life. is confirmed by Brown’s analysis of Book I 8-12. Contemplation for human beings falls between _________ Michael Davis. This poses two problems. and contemplation are divine rather than human. whose whole life is blessed (X 8 1178b26). pp. we would be no better off than other animals. where he shows that Aristotle’s definition is precise but not narrow. 3 . it must be a complete life because happiness is itself complete. Thus.

which allow it to look at the meaning of life as a whole. Thus. such an individual would be incapable of contemplation. are directed toward the end of contemplation. but one for the whole of life (VIII 9 1160a2324). where contemplation is itself excluded. Aristotle has shown in Book X 1-5. but proceeds from the stable character of the sage as wise. this also means that contemplative activity is the center around which the other activities of the sage are integrated. and the case of animals. In a move very similar to what Brown reveals in Book I 8-12. specific activity. This alternative is not a chance event but part of a life that has reached a completion or perfection that can be defined as contemplative. such an individual can engage in contemplation only occasionally and episodically. as it were. In the context of Book X 7-8. merely as a means or in a secondary way. is centered on a life of moral virtue. a chance event that he admits can occur. One is episodic. . where Aristotle describes the polis as aiming not at a present advantage. amusements and the activities of the moral virtues. These occasional bursts of contemplation do not proceed from wisdom as a stable character. Aristotle wants to establish that a human life can be contemplative. motivating the exercise of wisdom in its activity of contemplation and making the sage more proficient at this activity. We are now in a position to differentiate the two possibilities that Aristotle has in mind for engaging in contemplation. A society does this by the festivals it celebrates. happiness functions as this final cause.COMMENTARY ON BROWN 85 the case of the gods. if someone lives a life centered on pleasure and amusement. Thus. but are like the solitary swallow mentioned in Book I 7. like the lone swallow. where contemplation excludes all other activities. This is not a quantitative summing up. 5 _________ 5 There is one brief confirmation of this from Book VIII 9. an activity that supervenes on another. Even worse. the other activities of concern in Book X 6-8. These alternatives help us to see that the complete life is not about duration but the defining activity that governs one’s life as a human being and integrates one’s activities. If someone. how happiness is like pleasure. but not as part of a complete life. since Aristotle sees virtue as the precondition for contemplation and happiness. To explain what this means. but that kind of wholeness revealed in drama. In the case of someone truly happy. but is not interested in determining how long one engages in this activity nor that one do so exclusively. happiness is no longer episodic or haphazard. for example. causing the agent to perform that activity with greater facility and motivating the agent to engage in that activity more frequently. The other happens in a complete life. which explores the human situation against the backdrop of the rest of nature and the divine.

We can now conclude with a comment about the narrowness of Aristotle’s definition. GURTLER. since only contemplative activity is identified with happiness. but that his definition actually includes those goods and activities that common opinion identifies as parts of happiness. complete and whole.86 GARY M. S. Thus. I have argued that Aristotle’s strict definition of contemplation as the activity identified with happiness is combined with a constant integration of the other activities that form part of the sage’s life. In a similar way. a careful reading of both Books I and X shows that Aristotle is subtly integrating external goods as well as the variety of human activities into his account of happiness as rational virtuous activity and contemplation itself. BOSTON COLLEGE . To insist that a “complete life” is a chronological question about how long happiness lasts misses how carefully Aristotle use the terms. The definition of happiness in Book X has been taken to be even narrower. virtuous activity is not narrow in an exclusionary sense.J. Brown has shown that in Book I 7-12 Aristotle’s restriction of happiness to rational. and the precise senses he gives them in defining a human life as happy.

S.) Louvain. Brown. Articles on Aristotle. Pittsburgh. T. Broadie.L. Princeton. Aristotle on the Goods of Fortune. Nicomachean Ethics. Inclusiveness. Aristotle. 2003. The Fragility of Goodness.E. P.): 203-236. Reprinted from the Proceedings of the British Academy 60 (1974): 339-359. M. _______ 1999. S. Indianapolis. Kleingeld. In Destrée (ed. Precarious Virtue. Actes du XIe Congrès Internationale de Philosophie 12: 120-127. Minding the Gap in Plato’s Republic. R. Physics as a Virtue. Logic.) 1996. In Wood and Pitcher (eds. 72-78. 292-311. Reprinted in Owen 1986. Oxford. Nonaggregatibility. and Rowe. G. 2002. 1995. Classical Philology 97: 68-80. M. Intention. 1977. Ed. Princeton. Engstrom. C. S. Reprinted in Barnes et al. (ed. A Map of Metaphysics Zeta. . Reprinted from Philosophical Review 94 (1985): 173-196. _______ 1984. 2nd ed. Ithaca. Kraut. South Bend. 1963. G. From Duty and for the Sake of the Noble. Princeton. Cambridge. Menn. Aristotle on the Human Good. Reason and Emotion. G.) 1894. 2002. E. D.M. Destrée. Nicomachean Ethics. J. Joachim. Aristotle.): 69-92. 2nd ed. C. _______ 2006. (As yet untitled collection of essays on Aristotle. _______ 2001. 1986.L. Aristotle on Eudaimonia. Aristotle on Learning to be Good. Commentary. 85-103. Permanent Happiness.): forthcoming. and the Stoics. 1993. 1999. (eds. 1996. In Rorty (ed. Korsgaard.): 341-372.R. In Rorty (ed. Aristotle’s Account of the Origin of Moral Principles. The Problematic Status of Gender-Neutral Language in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge. The Poetry of Philosophy. P. In Broadie and Rowe: 261-452. J. In Cooper 1999. 2 vols.H. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3: 89124. Davis.D. _______ 2005. C. Nussbaum. et al. 1997.C. Lear. _______ 1986. Cooper. Aristotle. M. Barnes. Philosophical Studies 117: 275302. Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea. EN X 6-8. Botros. S. Practices of Reason. 2. In Engstrom and Whiting (eds. Notes on Ryle’s Plato. Reeve. M. 1995.): 15-33. The Complete Works of Aristotle.BROWN/GURTLER BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackrill.E. _______ 2004. The Activity of Happiness in Aristotle’s Ethics. Burnyeat. Philosophical Forum 25: 134-150. Broadie. Happy Lives and the Highest Good. Epicurus on the Value of Friendship (Sententia Vaticana 23). New York. Phronesis 31: 101-131. _______ 1999. Irwin.C.M. Oxford. Allan. 1989. (eds. Oxford. Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 11: 1-33. Lawrence. 1980. 1953.C. S. 1985. J. Princeton. 2002. Aristotle on the Choice of Lives. and the Theory of Focal Value. Kant. The Nicomachean Ethics. G. Stoic Cosmopolitanism. Oxford. Phronesis 42: 32-76. 1999. Ithaca.) 2005. Nussbaum. H. and Whiting.H. 1980. 2004. Anscombe. Bywater. I. Science and Dialectic. Owen. Aristotle. 1986. Vol. Review of Metaphysics 56: 801-834.) 1977. 1970.J. G. 1951. Cambridge. Gurtler. J. (ed.

Berkeley.88 BROWN/GURTLER BIBLIOGRAPHY Rorty. Garden City. and Pitcher. Stanford. Rowe.) 1980.A. Thompson. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 18: 211-229. White.P. Scott. 2000.): 221-240. Nicomachean Ethics.) 1970. Ryle. (ed.O. In Rorty (ed. O. (tr. D. Wiggins. D. forthcoming. Sovereign Virtue. A. Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics. C. 1980. Naïve Action Theory. Wood. M. 1992. G. Aristotle on Posthumous Fortune. . S. Deliberation and Practical Reason. Aristotle. (eds.) 2002. In Broadie and Rowe: 95-258.

which has nothing of the pictorial character some of us associate with mental images.COLLOQUIUM 3 ARISTOTLE ON ALFREDO FERRARIN I.” not “according to the imagination. the last thing he has on his mind is to make imagination the guiding tool for his inquiry. Here the phrase means the soul’s properties “as presented to us. say. or recollection of the pleasant and the painful. my memory of when I last saw him or my imaging his look of surprise when I present him with a gift for his upcoming birthday. a photo of my brother. There is an undeniable plurivocity to the concepts imagination and image which.” Likewise. The first task incumbent on me is to explain why I am going to leave and untranslated. All these images are identified differently and satisfy different criteria. for example in De motu animalium and the Rhetoric. anticipation. jeopardizes our understanding and makes us confuse different phenomena under a misleadingly uniform name. where the pictorial or visual connotation typically associated with mental images is virtually absent. The fact is that these terms are only occasionally and very roughly equivalent respectively to ‘imagination’ and ‘image. mostly in terms of an end to pursue. though. 402b23). The neglect of the rich implications inherent in a sorely ambiguous and limited vocabulary one is bound to use indifferently is the source of misunderstandings when we conflate. it simply cannot make sense in other cases. Here means prefiguration. such as spatio-temporal individuation. While it is mostly right in its occurrences in On Memory (De memoria et reminiscentia) and On Dreams (Insomniis)—with the reservation that a mental image may be convenient as a loose umbrella term but is not anyway thoroughly identical with an after-image or a memory image or a dream-image—. for example.” or “according to the phenomena. if unattended to.’ For example. The problem is not only the translation. our interpretation or read- . real and mental images. modality of existence or ontological status. the association of with mental image does not seem to fit the bill. The Problem of The topic of this essay is Aristotle’s discussion and use of . when Aristotle sets out the program of the De anima explaining he is going to investigate the functions and affections of the soul (I 1.

deciphering a sketchy image and interpreting it as the two-dimensional abbreviation or snapshot of an event. diverse threads that constitute the first attempt at a broad treatment of we have (Aristotle’s) the layers of meaning turn out to be by and large modern presuppositions best left out altogether. often they are conflicting. For Aristotle. However. relation to the space outside them. the task is the paradoxical one of freeing our mind from preconceptions and constantly watching the unwarranted inferences we read into the text. anticipating the possible development of a plot. separation between viewer and image. and significantly more complicated. many of the traits that most often define for us what is proper to imagination—from the integration of what is absent in perception to the function of synthesis. etc. interpreter and scholar are expected to bring to a text or work from the outset. In order to understand the sketchy. context and material medium in which they appear and the constraints thereby put on them. we are interested in an account of the historical genesis of concepts pertaining to imagination in Descartes or Kant or Husserl. quite vague and hard to identify to begin with. visualization. It is not even clear that has a unity and is not a scattered set of several notions. giving rise to a world alternative to the perceptual one. Yet. dreaming. traces of perception. dreams. True. in Aristotle is that the effort to liberate our minds from later conceptions must go deeper. this cautionary tale may be applied to all philosophers. If. The same is true of imagination and its functions. has to do with memory. say. while at the same time keeping all lines of flight together in view of the subsequent exploitation of sketchy. what it means for us to perceive them. What makes the situation markedly different. too. yet not unrelated functions of the same imagination. not to mention constructing a plot. we must behave like archeologists. diverse threads. our psychological and affective involvement. and especially to the freedom of the mind from preconceived meanings that the reader. our varying awareness of detail). envisaging or picturing one. Integrating the discontinuities of perception into a unitary picture. digging under sedimented notions in search of an original ground and documenting its later transformations across layers of meaning that are intertwined and can serve as useful directions to keep in mind. recognizing someone in a portrait. from exhibition in a sensible medium to an implicit form of judgment. phantasizing and having reveries. as when we oppose an escape from reality to an effort at better understanding it. writing a poem—all seem to be very different. from the translation of thought into a symbolic system .90 ALFREDO FERRARIN ing of them (codes of decipherment that are presupposed. drawing a figure. by contrast. The several modes at work are not only disparate. or of a shape partly hidden from view.

In fact for us. as if Aristotle often took back what he had just established in the turn of two continuous sentences. is a remarkably narrow notion bound to puzzle the reader. the putatively central text for any examination of . What is especially baffling is the vagueness and lack of precision of its description. This is obvious from a cursory analysis of De anima III 3. all translations are my own. more or less reliable conjectures on what the senses cannot provide. it seems positively messy. for “up to us” may mean that we give rise to it at will or that we can disregard its reference to facts. to recall Heidegger’s phrase on Kant’s imagination. where the main effort is directed towards demarcating from perception and thinking. Humean and Kantian transformations of and departures from it. III 3. From this point of view. while we are not emotionally affected in imagination because we are “like spectators looking at something frightening in a picture”. 427b 22-4. fills in all or some of the gaps that other faculties leave open. Here genetic conjectures do not seem to help much. Aristotle’s . homeless (heimatlos). while of proper sensibles is correct. the idea seems to go without saying that imagination helps integrate perception. 1 in the second book of the Rhetoric. though. except the criteria for differentiation get modified along the way. since perception of incidental and common sensibles may err. between the De anima and the later De Sensu). or are strikingly and suddenly revoked. Also. . and synthesizes the manifold into a unitary synopsis. Aristotle claims that is up to us while opinion is not. Unless otherwise noted. and yet in dreams is clearly not up to us. where none of that seems to happen. the fear is greater.ARISTOTLE ON 91 of representations to the various forms of spontaneity and creativity—are virtually alien to Aristotle’s and mostly the result of Stoic. which are the touchstone of truth. This contrast admits of tapering off. This cannot be correct. Neoplatonic. by contrast. while is by and large false. who come after Hume and Kant. Just to name some examples: Aristotle writes that perception differs from in that it is always true. But other contrasts seem more resilient: for example. and in general is the _________ 1 An. imagination may generate the greatest fear. The first impression is that it is not. differs from opinion because if we fear something and have reason to believe the object is threatening. but appear within the same text. Cartesian. It reads very much like a work in progress. puts forth tentative. because the inconsistencies and difficulties that emerge at a closer scrutiny do not span across different works (for example.

but I would like to stress that the talk of faculties goes in tandem with the notion of an ego or a subject that. reflectively or spontaneously. Almost invariably is understood as a faculty. I am not sure I would emphasize the internality of representation. as opposed to an external realm in which objects are in a relation to it through the medium of the body. The only qualms I have are with her definition of as a “mechanism for handling internal representations” (Aristotle’s Theory of Language and Meaning. having to do first with the misunderstood systematic function of the De anima and then with the misconstrued import of perception. More importantly. where he writes that belongs to thinking. not entirely without ground. but I am sure is neither a mechanism nor can it “handle” its contents.) is contradicted at 427b28.. This may be an exaggerated scruple on my part. But the most blatant tension is between 428a3-4. where differs from opinion because the discrimination between true and false is proper to the latter only. with the notable exception of the chapters on the intellect. The subject is in turn understood as a single inner space in which all contents are equally and uniformly mental. and 428b4 a few lines below. ascribes to itself cognitions. limits the import and the results of many of them. Also. of imposing or taking for granted modern presuppositions in our interpretation. which is wholly unnatural and constitutes the object of first philosophy. in an overall philosophy of mind that the De anima is purportedly meant to articulate. . 459a16 ff. from the time of Freudenthal up to Hamlyn and Rees. therefore integral to the study of (enmattered forms). Insomn. and I share most of her conclusions. 223).. so that in recent years we have seen several intelligent and helpful contributions to its understanding that are well worth reading. Let me mention the following. This chapter has represented a sort of challenge for Aristotle scholars. because faculties are demarcated and by their nature mutually _________ 2 See the bibliography at the end of this paper. 2 I personally profited greatly from these essays. where judges true and false. but the problem I have referred to.92 ALFREDO FERRARIN source of the most powerful emotions. Modrak’s work seems to me to deserve special mention among those essays. volitions and such. g. which judges also ’s tentative claim to truth. the common attempt is at salvaging the unity of the notion from the verdict of inconsistency that has been repeatedly leveled against it. Aristotle’s frequent and considered statement that is the same as perception albeit not in actuality or essence (e. This picture seriously downplays Aristotle’s hylomorphism and forgets that the De anima is not a rudimentary philosophy of mind—there is not even a word for mind in Aristotle—but a chapter of his philosophy of nature. Cambridge and New York 2001.

see A.ARISTOTLE ON 93 separate and distinct. Owen. 19. 4 the interpretation of sensory content and even resolution of Gestalt shifts (Nussbaum). but the result of a movement. C. eds. London 1949. O. E. Aristotle is striving to find independent room for it between either end of the segment along which he locates it. 287. “Aristotle on the Imagination. 141 ff. as we shall see in the next section.” in G. L. this language is tantamount to the presupposition of what has not yet been established: that is an independent faculty.” with regard to which we remain non-committal. . 5 M. and not a phenomenon whose limits Aristotle is trying to test and circumscribe from all sides. intrinsically connected to appearance. op. Aristotle on Mind and the Senses.. . is then taken as the generalization and synthesis of impressions of present situations and sequences of events (Frede). Frede. . 101 and 117.. Berkeley—Los Angeles 1996. the norm with respect to which it is at best commensurate. 5 and the like. 255-69 and her use of the Wittgensteinian notion of seeing-as to describe phantasia. not an activity.” in M. And the process is fundamentally reproductive: the is at best a copy. These are described as independent powers. instead of underlining the continuity stretching between them. 3 . Nussbaum and A. Ross. “The Cognitive Role of Phantasia in Aristotle. p. Oxford 1992. a “loose-knit family concept” explaining the capacity for having “non-paradigmatic sensory experience. is taken by most readers as an interpretation of the sensation. For a judgment calling in question the idea of as interpretation. 4 D. at least genetically derived from and subsequent to sensation. Schofield. “Structuring Rhetoric. Lloyd and G. and mostly inadequate. especially when appearance is unclear. let alone an activity referring to an ego. Nussbaum. But the more significant superimposition of un-Aristotelian concepts. Rorty. R. 5th ed. E. Aristotle’s De Motu Animalium. If in De anima III 3 cannot be described in terms of a faculty. Rorty. D. which is. quotes from pp. it is not a power either. Princeton 1978. The unfortunate consequence is that we end up driving a wedge between perception and . esp. Essays on Aristotle’s Rhetoric.. Essays on Aristotle’s De anima. perception and thinking. going along with the separation of faculties. O. Cambridge 1978. which by itself is not in a position to give an informative and grounded account of itself: lends its own voice to a dumb sensation.. p. skeptical and cautious. Aristotle. C. M. The problem is that this relevance of is achieved at a cost: the impossibility to tell when an interpreta- _________ 3 Cf. cit. not a standard or model but a derivative proxy drawing its meaning from the thing which it is meant to reproduce.. is the promotion of to center stage at the cost of a demotion of the work of perception. Aristotle describes as a process.” in Id. Frede.

Like all good chapters of Aristotelianism. But in De somno et vigilia he writes that there is a common power ( . etc. of the common sense in On memory ( 450a10-1). 100a17. even this doctrine is rooted in tensions and ambiguities left standing by Aristotle: in De anima he writes that all senses are self-conscious and there is nothing beyond the five senses in which we can locate awareness. according to which sensation is of particulars only (how admittedly arbitrary her interpolation of is can be seen in her reading of An. An additional “faculty” is not required to synthesize the particulars of sense and generalize the single sense-data into the type of the tokens that sensible particulars are. 6-28) and runs through the medieval sensus communis up to the 18th century “common sense” and Kant’s “inner sense”). II 12. for the awareness of the sensible and the awareness of my sensation of it are one and the same (III 1-2). but Aristotle adds that sense retains or receives ( ) sensible forms without matter (An. 426b18) is required in order to postulate that the perceiver who asserts a difference among sensibles be one (426b20-1). 65-92. 6 _________ 6 A good example of modern. 283) which tradition has long tried to read back into Aristotle. (Among some of the differences between Aristotle and Kant on imagination. Post. albeit divided in its functions (and calls this at 449a17-8). II 19. and are as close as Aristotle ever comes to a common sense. I 31. but something like a common sense over and above the senses is denied. 292). Cambridge—New York 2001. etc. 87b28-30. unify. . as well as the cursory definition of the as an affection . Later in De sensu he reiterates that the power of perception must be one numerically. collect and shed light on what is per se obscure and indistinct. That sensation is of particulars only is a well-known Aristotelian thesis. Som. such as size. 455a16) whereby one is conscious that one sees.) and not an original mode or seat of sensible consciousness. Here something unitary ( . Post. when not Kantian. 43 at p.94 ALFREDO FERRARIN tion is needed and is called in as a discriminating and judging power ( ). this however is never developed and remains in all its other occurrences the correlate of a special class of sensibles (common to more than one sense. hears. see my “Kant’s Productive Imagination and Its Alleged Antecedents. An. An. and the sensible material an indistinct manifold waiting for the mind to compare. 425b12-426b29—into a supposed theory of a common sense begins as early as Alexander of Aphrodisias (De anima liber cum mantissa. 424a24. but which is not a genuinely Aristotelian notion (the manipulation of Aristotle’s notion of a central organ allowing us to perceive common sensibles and incidental sensibles simultaneously in the unity of a thing—Sens. openly contrast with An. she gives in to the recurrent temptation among Aristotle readers to find the solution in a common or inner sense (p. II 19 in n. and my Hegel and Aristotle. 63. the price paid by these readings is that of muting the senses. III 1-2. III 2. and when it is not because the senses can judge by themselves (and see-something-as what it is). 287-325. 1995. shape.) Since Frede believes that Aristotle needs an abiding self in which are synthesized. assumptions at play in the reading of Aristotle is Frede. 100b4-5). number.” in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 18: 1. This. 449a5-20. making the percipient a mere passive recipient of sensible qualia. who can ascribe to the power of retention and synthesis into an overall impression because she attributes to Aristotle an atomistic theory of perception.. More generally. 455a16-8.

but complex states of affairs. first actualities by repeated actualizations. for they discriminate and judge common sensibles in and through movement. a formed . Aristotle compares the perceiver’s awareness. we simultaneously perceive the yellow and the bitter in the bile). III 2. not supposedly raw sense-data or the material blind manifold for intellectual unification. Perception is highly complex in that it involves awareness of sensory content in its distinctness and the ability to identify and recognize not just qualia. pluralities. potentially the contraries it can sense. The senses are not fallible and deceptive as they are for modernity. III 2. they are not the recalcitrant. our sensory potency becomes a second nature. what Aristotle means with his distinction between a purely passive alteration and the actualization of the senses as “a progress into one’s entelechy” and a “change to a positive disposition realizing the subject’s nature” (An. Indeed. a form in matter. This should be sufficient to show that the understanding of crucially depends on the proper assessment of its intermediate position between sensation and thinking. If the perceiver can compare. we can recognize a thing as the token of a type. That is. so that once it is formed. It should not be taken to show that we must advocate a form of nominalism and forsake all attempts at giving one .). II 5. making possible the formation of habits. An. and they are self-conscious. to a geometric point which is both indivisible (the point unites two segments: the perceiver perceives simultaneously different sensibles) and divisible (the point separates two segments which originate from it: here the perceiver operates as a limit discriminating two sensible things. We are the abiding continuity of a disposition. it seems that the senses must have for Aristotle a much broader range of meaning than we would be inclined to attribute to them. 427a6-7). 417b6-7 and 16). but give us a very rich content. Post. once—in the words of An. III 2. numerically one but divided in its functions. attitudes. relate and refer—in Aristotelian parlance. 425b12 ff. 426b10-1. they are not directed simply at their proper objects. passive material and instrument of a mistrustful reason setting up experiments and testing sensible instances in light of them. I submit. They give us an active and intelligent perception. judge the truth of—sensory contents. in that we are aware of our sensation through the sensible things we discriminate (An.ARISTOTLE ON 95 For Aristotle the perceiver. II 19—the universal has come to rest in our soul.). retains in memory different sensations because it is a disposition which becomes determinate when actualized (An. and connections in incidental perception (the white we perceive and recognize as the white of Diares’ son. and ascribe sensation of red to this thing. 427a10 ff. in another example. and they even give us a sensible awareness of relations.

First. in which Aristotle provides building materials. II. While it would be impossible to analyze them all. Compared to his notion of . but to bring in the entirety of Aristotle’s texts on . but is not a structurally incomplete and indefinite theory. especially ethical conduct. True. but one-sidedness is not an inevitable result. famously expressed this as “decaying sense” in Leviathan. for naturally our imagination tends to complete what seems incomplete and only sketched. In the following sections I propose not to rely on De anima III 3 alone. and attributes a definite meaning to the structure. It seems to me that if has an identity at all. If a systematic notion is to be ruled out. especially the Parva Naturalia. After discussing the relation between thinking and images. deliberative and the explanation of teleological conduct leading to action. translating the from the Rhetoric. is “an affection which lies in our power . he immediately mentions that is causally derived from perception. practical wisdom) and perception. a unitary comprehensive reading of the different meanings and occurrences of may not be. but the more open-ended.96 ALFREDO FERRARIN definition of given that all such definitions avowedly cannot take into account all the different aspects of the notion. Seeing in such a site a finished building is our inference. scanty instructions and bare contours. unfinished. Aristotle argues that while it is not in our power to form opinions as we will. they provide a much needed context for the question of the cognitive role of in An. I want finally to contrast the results with what at first blush appears as a new element that forces us to revise the whole context. what holds for one aspect or function of does not always for others. and Perception (De Anima III 3 and Related Texts) When Aristotle introduces in An. I am interested here in discussing select passages from the Rhetoric and the Nicomachean Ethics in order to evaluate the freedom of . III 3. differs from opinion.) Aristotle then proceeds to demarcate its function from (“supposal. but leaves it to us to fill in the details. shifting yet not entirely equivocal identity of a construction site. the issue of the intellect is always going to admit of several conflicting interpretations because of its mysteries and . opinion.” including different forms of thought like science. it is not a definite one. but we must watch this spontaneous and unwitting stepping over boundaries in our interpretation. in order to look for the possible unity of this notion. III 3. (Hobbes.

most animals have a way to negotiate what is absent. or even a shaping power. we see in it more than imagination). In and through . But rational animals can make negotiating with absence. differs from sensation. too. prefiguring it. subject as we are to delusions and self-imposed beliefs depending on the most diverse motivations. e.. but not for us. unless. The obvious implicit assumption here is that images. is coupled with a conviction of sorts. even if caused by sensation. But there is no discussion of the power of combination of different images into new ones. it is also unclear. because it seems as if were here non-committal. as in the case of rhetoricians and sophists. But that would not be a necessarily universal inference. to bring before our eyes. unlike perception. Aristotle adduces five reasons why. and recalling them is subject to a deliberate intention.ARISTOTLE ON 97 whenever we choose” (427b19-20). while is common to most animals. And the closest it will explicitly get to that is in recollection. an independent task. is certainly not a creatio ex nihilo. on the contrary: we are prone to making up stories. that is. As I said. not exactly alternative to reality but unbothered by its constraints. as an end to pursue or an evil to avert. ). and therefore belongs to rational animals who can listen to reason. He means by this an arbitrary. Possessing reason in this case does not make human beings closer to truth. And it won’t leave the stage from now on. deliberate ability to visualize ( . This does not mean we have here a spontaneous productive imagination. which needs a sensible to be actualized. object (even.g. we are not afraid of an act of imagination unless we ascribe to it an actual danger. which is no more than the capacity for playing with and arranging at will given images in accordance with a design. enterprise. . and can use them whenever and however we please.. We can visualize at will absent things. fear at II 5). Conviction is amenable to persuasion.. For them. because there seems to be a radical difference between human and animal : animals need a reliable to move about their world.g. unlike opinion. does not involve conviction ( .. this is problematic if we compare it to the Rhetoric and the idea that imagination is responsible for the strongest passions (e. Another reason why differs from opinion is that . in the form of persuading to desire or fear goals that are beyond the immediate realm of perception. to telling ourselves lies. become independent of it: we have them in our soul. the object of a profession). Regardless of what we think of the different directions in which this point leads us with regard to truth. the theme of veridicality has silently made its appearance. by making it present. in their residual images.

but most are false” (428a12-3). which shows that may be at work when the senses are not. and separates the sense of touch. treats his images as if they were memories. found time and again in the literature (and in Aristotle himself). who hallucinates. Here touch is the requisite for wakeful consciousness in that it keeps the senses in check and allows me to step out of my situation and verify whether or not I must assent to its appearance. especially Zeno and Cleanthes. i. In De somno et vigilia instead he talks about the functioning of the five senses regardless of their reference. it is more likely to err. The Stoics. what is ruled out in sleep and dreams is the possibility that our senses operate jointly. 7 In this sense exceeds perception. as well as the truth at play in the _________ 7 Here Aristotle treats seeing images in a dream as essentially different from seeing proper (427b7-9). which is the seat of wakeful consciousness and guarantees contact with reality. for we cannot test their solidity and depth. that the only power capable of asserting truth and falsity is judgment as the combination of notions: if that were the case. This implies that in sleep we do not stop having sensory. their integrity. The image in a dream cannot refer to a thing external to it. from the other senses because he is interested in showing how sleep suspends the sense of touch while the other senses may go on working.. This is a different way to arrive at the same situation as that plaguing the lunatic Antipheron of Oreus. for it is the thing. we would miss the complex theory of book II of the De anima regarding the truth of perception. it refers to independent sensible things. but expresses the fact that sensation stands or falls with its relation to the things external to it: sensation is intentional. (iii) “All sensations are true. . tied to the events that generated it in experience (Mem. is out of the question. from a likeness ( ). Here it is obvious how essential it is to give up the idea.e. 451a9-11). their being more than surface. In other words. we are however incapacitated. i.. That all sensations are true does not square with what precedes in the text. and is thus unable to tell an image ( ). (ii) Conversely. especially visual images. establishing and verifying the truth and falsity of their sensible representations. therefore the ability to recognize an image as an image. I cannot contextualize it.e. to distinguish between an image and a likeness.98 ALFREDO FERRARIN (i) We have dream-images even while sensation is not going on. while does not. will exploit this distinction between being presented with images and assenting to them: is ruled out in dreams. This is as good a description as it gets to the situation of the prisoners at the bottom of the cave (and the reason why Jacob Klein’s interpretation of as double seeing is wrong). Basically Aristotle means to say that because exceeds perception. from the incorrigible one of proper sensibles to the discrimination of common and incidental sensibles. free from the constraints of reference. perception exceeds because it belongs to all animals (the grub is Aristotle’s example of a limiting case). and does not take its bearings by the relation to the world. Here is clearly seen in its freedom from the responsibility for veridicality.

. for the word may refer to either my impression or the thing that appears to me. Let me go back to (iv) for a moment. If so far comprehended aspects of what we call imagination. but only when it is not distinct (428a13-5). Q 10. Aristotle likens this movement to that of a projectile or a javelin. If does not normally add to the discriminatory power of perception. (v) Finally. precisely insofar as they don’t take a stand on how perceived things actually are. (iv) appears as a reflection on the consequences of a proper command of language and shows Aristotle’s determination not to depart from ordinary experience: I do not say “I imagine it is a man” if the perception is clear.). emotions. e. illness. III 3. This new link between and appearance ( ) is what motivates Lycos’ rendition of as “being ap- _________ 8 See my Hegel and Aristotle. yet. 8 As I said. and here the senses are a more passive vehicle of impressions. residual or not. or with the distinctness of the object. 459a28 ff. In this case it is a . e.g. . Aristotle writes at An. and strangely Aristotle does not add a single word here. Whether this consideration arises as a reflection on linguistic practice or not. Elsewhere. “I imagine” and “it appears to me” become equivalent. which endure when perception is over. now it is decisively a way to respond to indistinct appearance: an impression we do not trust. conditions of light and visibility. it definitely shifts our attention from our power to deal with images. distance. then is here brought in to express a non-committal interpretation of an indistinct sensory experience.ARISTOTLE ON 99 intellection of indivisibles at An.g. But it is confusing that all distinction between my response and what appears vanishes. which moves on even if the physical force impressed to it is no longer in contact with the athlete’s arm and the javelin (Insomn. to appearance itself. in certain limiting cases it is a sort of interpretation of appearances that are intrinsically hard to read (owing to problems either with the perceiver. a discriminating power ( . etc. . (iii) is a problematic point. III 6 and Metaph.). which refers to the inertial force of images. as I anticipated. 161-71.. but very likely to err or go astray. which is by and large self-sufficient for Aristotle. we still see “even with our eyes shut” (428a16). In this case alone does Aristotle contravene Wittgenstein’s dictum that you can’t perceive and imagine the same thing at the same time—except the meaning of “imagine” must be properly understood as a form of conjecture. 428a3-4). He passes on to the next difference.

or pictures. Aristotle’s obvious reference is to Plato’s use of the term in the Theaetetus. 5). . which has nothing to do with mental images.” and justifies Schofield’s interpretation of as a loose family concept judging non-veridical experience in a sceptical way. does judge what appears ( ). In the case of indistinct perception becomes interpretation. here Aristotle wants to avoid reducing to its neighboring functions or saying that to imagine is to form an opinion exactly corresponding to a direct perception (428b2-3). therefore an interpretation and a (I do not say that the sun appears small. there is a conflict between the claim to truth put forth by and the resolution. and Insom. Philebus and Sophist (and before that to Protagoras’ idea that perception is what seems to me. I say it appears to be of this magis a and nitude 9 ). and when judges. or with imagination (save insofar as it is a sort of conjecture. There is thus a discrepancy between appearance and opinion that makes it possible for us to draw back from appearance and set up a distance between it and us. It is as if a realist intentionalist theory of perception suddenly became in one of its applications phenomenalist and gave rise to an otherwise virtually absent gap between givenness in our subjective experience and in itself. as it was in Plato. the decision about it by opinion ( ). and argues that “the controlling sense ( ) does _________ 9 I pass over the complications regarding the estimation of magnitude by the senses or by at Sens. we could not have a true belief with regard to something which has a false appearance. it is not in the form of an overlap between mental images. In other words. and the judgment does not alter the way the sun appears to us. 448b 14 ff. Even if the sun appears a foot across. but we preserve the freedom not to assent to this appearance—which means that we can bracket. It is a judgment on appearance and includes an inference and estimation of quantity and distance. and reality. put out of play and override . a guess). Were an opinion corresponding to and indistinguishable from the sensation of the same object it is an opinion of. And the conclusion of this effort at understanding apart from opinion and perception is that it cannot be a blend of the two. Along with this discrepancy. But ’s role is the admittedly misleading one of presenting us with a deceiving image. and it is itself a judgment. Metaph. Here the of the sun is the misleading appearance we verify and confront with our pondered judgment. we judge it to be bigger than the inhabited earth. 460b16-20 and the conflicts between these texts and the De anima.100 ALFREDO FERRARIN peared to. For in On Dreams Aristotle returns to the example of the sun.

If contact is the guarantee of faithfulness. Hett). the greater the truth. In fact. as we will see in the next section. In any event. a deriving from proper sensibles “is true whenever the sensation is present. its claim to truth and its goal of reproducing faithfully the thing for our consideration. it has a unique cognitive use precisely qua capacity to represent. and is all the more likely to err the more it is removed from the thing and connected with absence. That the controlling power contradicts is repeated at 462a6-7: in sleep I cannot contradict the impression in which my consists because I cannot take the image as image. but something else often contradicts this impression” ( . removal and distance are the main causes of falsehood. while with common and incidental sensibles we may go wrong. likewise.g. are neither false nor true.. This is proved by the fact that the sun appears to measure a foot across. which we could express as follows: the greater the contact (howsoever understood) with presence ( ). for it covers many shades along what is for us a heterogeneous spectrum ranging from arbitrary or spontaneous representations to inadequate appearances and misleading sensory impressions. 460b16-20. this theory of truth as contact returns by the end of the chapter. If were left to itself. where he calls false paintings and dreams because they are not taken in themselves. this ability to contradict . with the thing. At times what Aristotle says about falsehood is confusing. 1024b23-5). As we know. sends us back to another trait that is behind Aristotle’s theory of truth. after all it seems reasonable to say that at least some images. Now this . in dreams and paintings. The partial exception to this cognitive import of is the treatise On Memory. What sleep suspends is my capacity to see images as representational. to its tendency to disconnectedness. we may find Aristotle’s rather sweeping claim that “ are for the most part false” (428a11-2) baffling. its images would be all we have. perception of proper sensibles is always true. where Aristotle distinguishes between the different images left over from the respective modes of perception. transl. That for Aristotle they are instead mostly false is consistent with the first of the several meanings of “false” in the Metaphysics ( 29. e. is therefore always understood and evaluated in terms of its basic characteristic. because it is kept in check and is validated as relational. where the contrast between image and likeness relieves from the responsibility for reference and truth and leaves it to likenesses. but the others may be false . because it is not. but as representing a reality that is not.ARISTOTLE ON 101 not judge these things by the same power as that by which images occur. and thereby judge its claim to truth.

Aristotle does speak of . ascriptions. as for animals. including the awareness of the relation of this white to Diares’ son. easily changeable. held fast as possibly true. If instead the trace of perception includes the whole of what I have perceived (and I perceive the . Since sight is the chief sense. I submit. His definition is very broad purposely. as if to adjust to and accommodate the diverse understandings we have seen. I would like to say just a few words to dispel what may be a myth.. where Aristotle writes that “imagination must be a movement produced by sensation actively operating. Hett). too literally is the requirement that images resemble the percepts from which they derive. attune and smooth out singular perceptions. He writes: “ is the movement by which we say that an image occurs in us” (428a1-2). because in the experience of a singular token I already have access to its type. True. and especially when the sensible object is at a distance” (428b28-30). it is a caricature to . comparisons. It is the process by which images are left over. the ratio or form of the sensible. but it seems clear that Aristotle’s preoccupation is mainly directed at a form of representation of things in their absence which is the result of a prior perception and which may be used by thinking and memory (or. and thus secures reference as a natural relation. not isolated bits of qualia). III 3. This characterization has led interpreters to emphasize the visual connotation of images and the resemblance model for images. visualized. We saw that the alternative is to postulate the action of in order to generalize. transl. as a way to orient themselves in reality). the name is derived from (light). The nominal definition of expressed at the beginning of the chapter is repeated and confirmed at the end. and his theory of perception does need a likeness: the virtue of likeness is that it fastens my image to the thing. recalled. There are relatively inconsistent accounts of . However.. etc. It is not necessarily a visual trace. and these images are the traces of prior perception. Imaginations persist in us and resemble sensations” (429a2-6.102 ALFREDO FERRARIN both when it is present and when it is absent. because without light it is impossible to see . but can comprehend the memory image of everything the perception has left in us. presented. there is no need to postulate an additional faculty. I suggest. in a way that is not conventional. and this ranges from proper sensibles (the of a string quartet is no oxymoron) to common and incidental sensibles. The visual paradigm is not as exclusive as in most of our philosophical tradition: the residual in us must be able to refer to all sensibles and their respective senses. Another criterion that has been taken. It is not clear what conclusions we should draw from An. arbitrary.

ARISTOTLE ON 103 make Aristotle say that I must harbor in my soul a picture reproducing as if on exact scale the thing I saw. Yet. still presence is said in at least two ways: the presence of the sensible in perception differs from this now vicarious presence to our consideration it enjoys in . or ghost in the machine if you prefer Ryle’s. I can refer to a thing by way of an arbitrary truncated symbol. here the presence of the image is not meant as a likeness. we can have a memory image related to the experience from which it derives. in Sartre’s words. Its advantage vis-avis the perception of the sensible thing is that the image is not bound or limited to the immediacy of givenness. ’s main but not exclusive effect is that of enabling us to visualize and make present to ourselves absent things. by which I relate to things through the medium of my fixed mental representations of them. it can be a matter of degree.e. presence is the necessary touchstone of truth we rely on. The image is the thing in its absence.. as in mnemotechnique. as a way to refer to a concept (the image of Coriscus may conjure up my friend for me or represent an illustration of “man” to my mind). and Reference (Memory and Thought) As we have seen. If. To a fuller examination of it we can now turn. nor is it wholesale. The obvious consequence is that in we are freer from givenness in that we can give ourselves. i. So we must carefully interpret the theory of reproduction of sensory experience in memory as if by substitution. When it is so meant. I think it is an exaggeration to attribute to Aristotle this illusion of immanence. it is not always the vicarious presence of the thing. The distinction the treatise . as a simple image I entertain while phantasizing or dreaming. or a likeness in more general terms. we can reproduce. the definition of is general enough to accommodate visualization. For example. nonrepresentational senses: for example. for it may be taken in different. teleologically directed activity. the thing as a representation. dreams. III. The theory of images as pictures of prior experience has mainly been derived from the treatise On memory. the thing that generated the : this is implicit in the causal theory we have seen in De anima III 3. Likeness is not visual. presence out of deliberate intention. memory. in a broad sense stands for. it shows again that the visual paradigm has taken over as the exclusive model. Even if the first origin of this image is in perception. represents. while an image is always a form of presence. whereby I acquire a certain freedom towards the thing I experienced and want to recall to my mind. as I said.

the image is one. In On memory Aristotle asks: if the image presents us with the thing without its physical presence. and by the repeated consideration of an image as a copy of the thing to which it refers. If the sensory content pictured remains identical in the image and the likeness. but our different thematization. because in the case of a memory the content is not perceived in . then remembering and sensing would be the same. 450a32) in memory. III 3. I must be “seeing and hearing what is not present” (450b19-20). When I conjure up an image of Coriscus. Unlike in imagining. all images would be different objects of ever renewed contemplation. internal to the sense-derived . which becomes a representational image (an ) or a disconnected according to our consideration. Mem.): if it were not a likeness. or that from which it is derived (450b12-3)? If it is the present affection. When I remember. Whether we regard it as likeness or as image. memory is a real “presencing of absence.” But unlike imagination. images can function in reference to things. and the image we envision now is regarded as a likeness precisely because of our consciousness of its temporal connotation. Mem. what changes is not its relation to the original. depending on what we mean to make of it. 461b23 ff. still the theoretical import differs. 450b31). hence also of the time elapsed. my imagination must then work together with my memory. As copies. our intentionality. Differently stated. But let me proceed with order. If I failed to consider my present image of Coriscus an image of Coriscus. When one remembers. memory presences absence qua absence. is one contemplating the present affection.104 ALFREDO FERRARIN On Memory introduces is a distinction. I would be presenting myself with a new image (Insomn. which is the disposition ( . when I consider an image isn’t it paradoxical to say that I am intuiting something absent? And in what more precise sense can an image come to be considered a likeness of the thing? When I remember. 449b25) constituted by our repeated distinction between image ( ) and the image-as-a-likeness ( ). following my point (iii) above from An. our “mode of contemplating” or considering the image ( . and we could not remember anything in its absence. A world without a stable identity is a meaningless world. 232a1-235c7). as it would be for Plato (Soph. in remembering the images are always considered as deriving from an actual perception: we are aware of having experienced the thing before. I have an image of the thing which I treat as a likeness ( ) of that thing: Why? Perception impresses a transcription ( . which only makes me visualize images.

8. but disregards precisely what makes the image an image. But. contrary to a widespread belief. I need to place the thing “before my eyes” ( . is always of images. 431a14-5.). 431b2. However. 450a4) and consider the absent thing in its image “as if I saw it” ( . I 1. Memory. 8. Aristotle argues. That we think in images is a very well-known thesis (Mem. among others. Let me explain. 11 In Libros Aristotelis De Anima. I take the last quote to indicate that even if we cannot _________ 10 For the meaning of see Sorabji. An. Obviously intelligibles are enmattered and immanent in sensibles. cf. by M. 82- 3.ARISTOTLE ON 105 itself. It follows from the necessity that thinking have a present object of thought. 432a10). 431b7). ed. 403a8. Mem. to the thinking soul “images ( ) serve as sense-images ( ) do to perception” (An. Aristotle’s point that we cannot think without images does not simply translate the content of images into thought. Thus Aristotle writes that we cannot learn or understand anything without images (“for images are like sense-images. 267. For thinking. p.” 432a9-11). at odds with An. but is visualized as a representation of the past experience of the thing: it has the value of a temporal. III 7. Berlin 1882. since the thinking soul is in identity with its object and not related to it through otherness or images. An. even when we remember intelligibles (450a12-3). and therefore they are apprehended on the basis of the images left over from our sensation of them (An. the exact nature of the dependence of thinking on images is a matter of dispute. relational index. While I believe that Simplicius. London 1972. for our apprehension and memory. 432a4-11) 10 . but it is not prior by nature. 450a1. uses images as particular examples and illustrations of intelligible forms. except without matter. its particularity. was too quickly dismissive when he said that Aristotle really meant that imagination is only required by the discursive soul. III 7. 11 I also think that to make thinking dependent on imagination would be an undue restriction of Aristotle's position. Which is to say it sees the universal in the image. III 7. Hayduck. Aristotle on Memory. Thinking needs an intuition filling its thematic consideration just as sensation needs a sensible thing to be activated. III 8. . ll. 431a16-7. 432a3 ff. pp. This index value is less apparent and much less discussed by Aristotle. Thinking ignores whatever is subjective and particular about the image and uses it as a representation of the form we think in it. III 5 and the denial of the corporeal basis of thinking. and that “concepts are not images but are not without images” (432a13-5). 30-32. I suggest. An image is both inevitable and prior for us. but becomes crucial when it is non-temporal and is used by thinking.

and at An. separate and unmixed nature. When the intellect is embodied in us. present ourselves with images to substantiate our thought. we need not rely in our thought of what is not intuitive on what is no more than an analogical representation. but for Aristotle I do not simply translate into concepts what is present in an image. so that the same content. must consider the sensible forms we learn in experience as no more than the illustrations of the intelligible essences enmattered in them. and is independent of the representation of the sensible. 450a27). let alone causal. which for us always begins from (but does not necessarily end at) the sensible. but can vary according to the mode of consideration. for there is nothing universal about an image as image. And that is because. and then knows. in a passage which has rarely attracted the attention of commentators in this context (An. but the relation between the two is not direct or necessary. once again. and that imagining and remembering are the subjective acts of the presentification of things whose content is distinct from and irreducible to their image. It follows from the principles of Aristotle’s noetics that the image only has an exemplary function. only our thought needs images. The geometrician contemplates or sees. Mem. thinking itself without the aid of images. Post. which may be of help to picture. Images are inevitable because of the finitude of our thinking. Even if this thesis is not discussed in a manner and to an extent comparable to the distinction between and likeness. thinking in images is what its use amounts to. 429a3). or the divine to ourselves. III 3. an image is not an unchangeable content.106 ALFREDO FERRARIN help picturing the pure intellect. the essence of the triangle in light of the image (we have seen the connection between sight. it is nevertheless stated in no uncertain terms by Aristotle when he distinguishes between objects of memory properly so called from incidental objects of memory ( . as we see in the case of the prime mover. But per se the active intellect is prior. It follows that our thinking. It is only when I regard it as the particular occurrence of an abstract form that it acquires for my intellect the value of an index and reference to an intelligible essence. say the visual image of . 77a1-3). But thinking in itself is actual and free and does not need images. as it were. which first must learn. The image can help me understand or remember aspects of the thing. but does not adequately capture any of the essence of our object of thought. true to its impassive. that when a geometrician draws a triangle the figure only has an illustrative function. give our intelligible gaze. The image is irremediably particular and determinate because through it my imagination reproduces what appeared to me in perception. and when he argues. because we need to recall. or being. I 10. memorize or communicate.

more generally. and is thus removed from the “original” from which we must take our bearings when understanding and truth are our goal. 12 . towards which Aristotle entertains more than a simple gesture.ARISTOTLE ON 107 my brother. the image is a vehicle and an index. 16a3-8. it goes beyond the subjective appearance of because it “contradicts” the subjective particularization of forms in experience. sign and name as continuous and homogeneous. Deliberative and the Freedom of Practical Imagination In the passages devoted putatively to the picture we get is of a process causally generated by perception. yet we draw it with a determinate quantity. but do not think of it as of a quantity (Mem. that makes the transmission model ( — . because of their irremediable particularity.” as we saw. thinking works against the particularity of images. Similarly in thinking. because of the fact that an image reproduces to our mind whatever state of affairs generated it. is intrinsically non-sensible and can hardly be arrived at by a conceptualization of the sensible form left over in the image. It seems that in their use for thinking images have basically an instrumental function. What is not stated by Aristotle is a further. but the logos of the essence. Differently stated. or give a concrete exhibition to my abstract consideration of “man. 1.” In the last case. crucial point. the Aristotelian intellect does not legis- _________ See for example the theory of meaning as an affection of the soul in Int. Here is a central passage showing what I mean: We cannot think without an image. between intuitive and abstract. which is deeper than he thought. may represent a fleeting image of him I entertain now. 449b 24-450a 6). For the same thing occurs in thinking as in the drawing of a figure. or the theory of recollection in the second part of On Memory. but also. from image to concept). expressed by the definition. There. likewise. as he often does. It often resists misleading appearances and thus “contradicts the imagination. True. the sensible form is a ratio or . yet we place a quantity before our eyes. although we do not make use of the triangle’s determinateness of quantity. IV.12 Aristotle cannot satisfactorily take into account the gap between image and concept. fail: a sensible form and an intellectual essence simply cannot be identical. Unlike modern mind. my memory of him. By treating image. a process which has a derivative status. although we do not think of the quantity.

it is the different modal status of the object at play (the necessity of the immutable vs. cf. This move was actually adumbrated in chapter 10 of De anima III. at best images are good bearers or reminders of them. We are sent back to the meaning of as impression. in view of possible choices.. the tries to follow the nature of the thing. when we come to other texts (Rhetoric. and the desire” (MA 702a18 ff. Very strikingly. Aristotle continues: “and comes about either through thought or through sense-perception” (ibid. in which I prefigure to myself . fear. based on the evaluation of the relative merits of different choices. Nicomachean Ethics). but rather forms of expectation. desire the affections. transl. except that it is now the distinct impression of the end that is at once the starting point for action. However. Here . in the course of his explanation of the principles of animal movement. it cannot have a form of its own (laws. “For the affections suitably prepare the organic parts. Here the images are clearly not visual. in light of what we have seen and the derivation of from perception.108 ALFREDO FERRARIN late over nature. at 434a10). but have no value in themselves. where Aristotle spoke of a deliberative or rational ( ). Aristotle argues that the object represented as the goal is the unmoved mover of the action (701b33-4. but originates a movement. and what counts here is how the object appears to me. In other words. This representation is formed as the thought or image of the object to pursue or avoid. including the criterion by which we distinguish the functions of the intellect itself: for example. Nussbaum). We have here a definitely new element: while so far was investigated in the traits that all animals possessing it shared. III 10). categories. which evaluates a particular state of affairs (of which it can have no science but at best a correct opinion) and is aimed at a deliberation. In this sense is the ability to see the particular in light of a goal. now we have a specifically human power to represent ends.). hope. In De motu. the large picture again needs refocusing. the contingency of what can be otherwise) that allows us to differentiate between scientific and calculative intellect and their respective criteria for truth. which invariably constitute the point of departure and the guide for it. which it only purports to understand and attest. An. principles). and thus helps the internal weighing of options leading to a deliberation. and therefore does not derive from a prior perception. combines the diverse images into one representation (this is the only occurrence of a synthesis. If the becomes the form it thinks. De motu animalium. This deliberative follows upon reasoning and only belongs to calculative animals. but must adapt itself in a plastic way to its several objects. human beings.

of being reunited with my beloved. and can change according to how beliefs change. it is now the cause of movement. And. Aristotle _________ For Zeno and Chrysippus. I will see things differently from now on.ARISTOTLE ON 109 a future good. bitter or sad. they are not blind and irrational impulses but are based on opinions and beliefs. instead of being a process caused by perception. from Zeno and Chrysippus to Plotinus (and Kant and Hegel). as representations—. they are not derived from sense but generate passions of their own accord. but psychological conditions which represent states of affairs that are not given and are mostly projected onto the future (or past). involving hope and fear.e. evaluations and judgments on relevant states of affairs. it orients our desires. so does my fear. in which I may indulge. I will shift my perspective and the global image in a way that will alter its borders. who does not make this trait of central at all. Lives VII 51. When my conviction regarding the reality of the danger changes. of being hurt in an accident. The practical imagination then has a very different function from the residual derivation of a trace left from perception in our memory. resists the move tempting later philosophers. The of a revenge appeasing my rage and giving me pleasure (EN IV 11. of having been abandoned by a friend. In other words. 1126a20-3). passions are in this sense more or less rational. to the extent to which they are permeable. This can be best seen in the Rhetoric. 30. they are as such the source of an often greater pleasure (or pain) than the actual happening itself. as expectation of the pleasant and painful—i. Like imagination. Like perceptions. my fear depends on the danger I am convinced I perceive in something. to rational arguments and persuasion. 13 . of splitting into a sensible and an intellectual mode. or impervious. are phantasies. and moves us to pursue an end. see Aetius in Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta II 83 and Diogenes Laertius. In the new conviction. These representations are not the pictures of remnants of sense. for Plotinus. the light in which things appear to me changes. imagine or do. dream. see Ennead IV 3. Human imagination would then be unqualifiedly rational. passions are discriminating. Aristotle. which means in their complexity.. more importantly. because thought is implicit in everything human beings feel. linger or even brood. which either vanishes or is addressed to other objects. As Hegel would say. For example. where passions are described in their mental nature. we must recognize even in human beings’ lower functions diverse forms of rationality at work. its color. feel frightened. eventually making all human tendentially rational ( ) 13 . memories or anticipations I may savor.

1382a22-3). fear of evil and hope for good. 1384a21-2). 1378b8-10). if his entire theory of is relatively unprecendented. hope is the image of an imminent good (1383a17-8). though. giving rise in its permutations. for a slight suffered generates pleasure (II 2. I think you are right. This is why it is pleasant to evoke the loved one in his or her absence. Opinion is an integral part of the passion. I 11.” reminds you of Chapter 6 of Leviathan. in memory and expectation (Rhet. it is undeniable that he introduces in deliberative a groundbreaking aspect that others will exploit more exclusively. to continue with Aristotle’s examples.” continues Hobbes. it is how I see something that explains why I am afraid of it. being loved is pleasant because it sends me back an image of myself as good (1371a18-9). and which therefore leave room for the rhetorician’s influence. If this combination of three basic elements: image or representation. but my very passions. In the controversy with Bishop Bramhall. The rhetorician exploits the fact that what pleases in its presence does also in its absence. And I don’t need an outside persuader: a dialogue of the soul with itself will do just as fine. In the end it is not only the contours of the images. winning generates an image ( ) of superiority that gives me pleasure (1370b346). This reference to Hobbes only helps me introduce one last point. Hobbes retorts to his opponent that man may well be free “to do what he hath a fancy to do. imagination and impression in the previous examples is always ) are internal representations whose contours are not definite. But. Fame generates the impression ( ) of possessing the qualities of an excellent person (1371a8-10). they can be at least in part constituted rhetorically. “it be not in his will or power to choose his . Fear is a pain deriving from the image of a forthcoming evil ( . and shame is the imagination of haunting disgrace (II 6. that can change. if only in thought or in dreams. These images (the one word for images. II 5. because he is more interested in the continuity between humans and animals than in the gap and demarcation of their functions and affections. because passions change according to my opinions. the image of revenge taken. Likewise. 1370b10-2). and with them the actions for which I will be responsible.110 ALFREDO FERRARIN resists this. As I said. additions and subtractions to different “passions of the mind. what matters in animal movement is not how things stand. Hobbes drew his inspiration for that chapter from his study of the Rhetoric by the philosopher he much maligned and hated. but how they appear to me.

that is. Even appearance is part of my ethical responsibility. and therefore a certain choice is not imputable to us but to an inevitably partial judgment on what could have appeared differently had I had a different perspective or vantage point. and is itself determined. innocent with respect to what I perceive. Aristotle does consider this problem in the Nicomachean Ethics.ARISTOTLE ON 111 fancy. out of my control. They can also persuade me to feel a certain passion and stabilize a certain disposition of tendencies in me. chapter 6). p. 5-27. He writes: But someone might argue as follows: “All men seek what appears good to them. We have seen the link between appearance and representation. In that case the judgment would be contingent. This becomes the heart of a pressing question in ethics: if all we do in action is look to the appearing good. IV. see my Artificio. and the ensuing action. Images thus have more than a causal function. Molesworth. The English Works. Possibility. 1114a31—b3. my mental disposition. and this is the only available deciding factor. they show the kind of person I am. . Hobbes e i fondamenti antropologici della politica (Pisa 2001. My imagination determines my wants and desires.” If. trans. the individual is somehow responsible for his own characteristics. 247. Interestingly. London 1839-45. Aristotle argues to the contrary. except I am not free to please whatever I want. If my desire is stimulated by the representation of the end I have. if blamable. ed. Ostwald). Hobbes. we might be inclined towards the view that appearing does not depend on us. 2003. The images that move me to action have moral connotation and significance.” 14 I am free to do whatever I please (provided I have the power). but they have no control over how things appear to them. after all. to our representation of the good. pardonable. Because what I perceive as morally salient for my choices depends on my desires and representations. On imagination in Hobbes. I must pay the keenest attention not only to the right education of my passions. and “Imagination and Hobbes: Distance.” in The Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 24: 2. more educational and involves more responsibility than for many modern philosophers. I am. but also to the cultivation of the good _________ 14 Of Liberty and Necessity. my desire is not atomistic and disconnected from other desires or from me. Both my desires and my images are combined in a thoroughgoing unity defining my individuality. desiderio. or choose his election or will. we reply. he is similarly responsible for what appears to him (EN III 7. considerazione di sé. again because perception is understood as a disposition shaping my identity and is thus more active. the end appears different to different men. vol. and Desire. in T.

UNIVERSITY OF PISA . let alone systematic. unity. then I am not only the initiator of a desire and its subsequent behavior. This is another way in which desire. Conclusions Is there a unity to these different activities. If I imagine something that gives me pleasure.112 ALFREDO FERRARIN dispositions of my imaginative life. depends in part on my imagination’s representations and on my character. functions and meanings of ? They do not seem to be connected by a thorough. and for which I am ultimately responsible. But nor are they a bundle of heterogeneous or disparate elements. a sedimented attitude and habit of imagining (and conversely may derive from such habits). So my images may be quite ephemeral. V. for they find their leading thread and common denominator in the power of representation and presentification of absence. there is no real distinction between these two forms of education. desired and decided. And that is a habit which I contribute to establishing. through intentional repetition. Think of books I and II of the Nicomachean Ethics and the circle between exercise and disposition: the activity derives from a disposition. the person who has so imagined. There is an analogous circle between character and imagination. I am also. I have in part generated a disposition and an attitude to represent ends and objects to myself. and this pleasure in the absence of its object moves me to act. far from being an irrational and formless drive indifferent to individuality. To be more precise. yet may also establish one. but they may also leave an abiding trace in me. and tend to remain. The disposition here is the abiding habitus thanks to which I relate to my images.

III 3. we are being told that presents us with (‘images’) when no perception is occurring. even though is an ingredient in or. the function of and how it differs from perception on one hand and understanding. 432a12-14 he tells us that while thoughts and are not the same. thoughts would not exist without existing as well. What would happen. 427b16-21). But what we really would like to see is an argument explaining why is an indispensable cognitive function. Also. a prerequisite for. III 8. such as occur in day dreaming or when we simply make things up. The text remains largely silent on the rationale for . III 3. 428a12). might with equal right be called neither true nor false.” the reason . To be sure. but we are not free to believe something to be true or false at will (An. Also. I will return to some of these points below. as in dreams (An. For belief is based on judgment and judgments must be true or false. III 3.) Aristotle’s argument in De Anima III 3 is to show primarily that is a faculty sui generis. if were missing from the panoply of the soul’s cognitive functions and processes? What could we not do in the ? There is one place where Aristotle commits to a absence of clear answer to this question.. Thus. And again. we may wonder why Aristotle says this since many . Famously. we may wonder why not all are simply false and why apparently sometimes they can be true.COMMENTARY ON FERRARIN KLAUS BRINKMANN One of the puzzling things about De Anima III 3—Aristotle’s most extensive treatment of —is the fact that nowhere in that chapter does Aristotle seem to indicate what the indispensable contribution of to the cognitive process is supposed to be. (In parenthesis.g. in An. Moreover. as Professor Ferrarin has so amply shown in his paper. whereas according to Aristotle are “for the most part false” (An. we are free to imagine something at will. whereas it is not up to us to perceive something that is not there or not to perceive something that is. it is up to us to call up such . alternatively. 428a6-8). e. believing and thinking on the other is described in great detail. unless one perceived things one “would not learn or understand anything. thinking and belief formation. all of them for the most part. not reducible either to perception or to processes of reasoning.

Caston. Aristotle says at An. A 1. 100a3-8. 432a4-5. Aristotle establishes a connection between dreams and . 1996. Also important in this context is the theory that something in _________ 1 The intelligible forms ( ) are ‘among’ the sensible forms. III 8. 1 we are still left speculating how the act of thinking itself . he does not say that without there could be no dream images. may be dependent on the existence of Quite explicitly. in a nutshell. In other words. this remark in An. 980b28-981a1. And yet. II 19. sensible forms are a prerequisite for having thoughts. as far as the faculty of memory is concerned we are indeed able to specify a necessary cognitive role for it on the basis of what Aristotle says about memory in Analytica Posteriora II 19 and Metaphysics 1. he does not here exclude that memory might perhaps substitute for in making dreams possible. 3 His answer is. although this does not yet explain why they are also part of the act of . Briefly put. it would be more reassuring to hear this from Aristotle himself. Metaph. I will be arguing below that the are in fact the sensible forms. Caston’s argument is a follows. 29). that without error could not be explained. no theoretical understanding ( Unfortunately. Even if we can make a plausible case for arguing that memory would be insufficient to explain our dream experience. III 8 remains largely unexplained. but we do not know that we would not have thoughts without know why Aristotle believes this. While there is an indication why are a necessary prerequisite for thinking. if were to be taken out of the picture? We . Is there anything else that we would not ? possess or be able to do without In a 1996 article in Phronesis. 2 Cf. If so. . The argument there is that without memory no retention of images would be possible and without retention of images no emergence of simple universals. Incidentally. An. 3 Cf. 2 So the question remains: What kind of functionally necessary work is supposed to do in the economy of our cognitive activities? Why does play an indispensable part in our cognitive processes? What would not work. 432a7-9). Victor Caston has made a persuasive proposal in response to these questions (although I believe it does not go far enough and also needs to be refined. Or take dreaming. as I shall try to show).114 KLAUS BRINKMANN being that without perception there would be no and without . III 8. Perception involves a causal process in which an object affects a sense organ such that the object is the cause of a change in the sense organ which change produces an affection in the soul that results in a mental content (Caston 1996. APo.

e. We would need to find a way to decouple the object from the mental or psychic content while not denying the existence of a causal connection. 30) and from this it may be concluded that “all appearances are true” (cf. on the causal model of perception. Now on one reading of this. 31). that such a “mental state will … be about what brings it about” (Caston 1996. (Caston 1996. Thus we cannot be mistaken that we see a color (even though that perception may still be indis- . That perception is always about what brings it about can thus lead to the unacceptable consequence that we can never be mistaken in judgments based on perception. However. Phantasia generates a content that can be different from its cause: For error to be possible. content must bear some relation to cause. But it must be possible for content and cause to diverge. there must be something in addition to the sensory effect which is wrongly attributed to the cause of the sensory effect. we could open up the possibility of a divergence of content and cause of perception (cf. Caston 1996. ‘something in addition’ would be the This result seems to be confirmed by Aristotle when he says that we need to distinguish between perception of the proper sensibles which is always true.COMMENTARY ON FERRARIN 115 the perceiver must be “like” the object. 38). Caston 1996. or that perception is always veridical. This is why. 38) So what happens in an erroneous judgment is that we misattribute the content or effect to an object or cause that is not really its cause. and more importantly. Aristotle introduces the faculty of imagination. such a separation seems impossible. we will conclude that “an object is known because it interacts with something in the subject ‘like’ itself. Caston argues. This generated by . 29). the causal connection and the likeness between object and something in the perceiver. otherwise we might have a disconnect between object and perceiver in the sense that the change effected by the object in the perceiver does not translate into a representation or image of the object itself. If it were possible to say that the content of a perception need not be exactly like its object. Caston 1996. For this to be possible. if cognition is to occur. i. and incidental perception which concerns the perceptual judgment based on the former kind of perception. At the same time it is not difficult to see how such a patently false conclusion could be avoided. however.” and furthermore. When we put these two requirements together. The relation between a mental state and what it is about cannot be simply identified with the relation between an effect and its cause. this means that the content of the perception will infallibly correspond exactly to the object that caused it (cf.

116 KLAUS BRINKMANN tinct. III 3. 428b19). 432a9-10 that are like perceptions. Their unlikeness consists in the fact that prior to perception the form in the soul exists in potentiality only whereas the form in the object exists in actuality independently _________ 4 I suggest that this is what Aristotle has in mind when he says that perception of the proper sensibles is “liable to falsity to the least possible extent” (An. What I can be and sometimes are mistaken about is that this white shape in front of me is in fact my friend who has unexpectedly donned a toga. ‘Is it really white or is what I am seeing actually gray?’ 4 ). i. what I believe he should have said is that it requires a decoupling of the sensation caused by the object from the content of perception. 5 My argument in support of this claim crucially depends on Aristotle’s remark at An. . However. then. they must be universals. And second. If so. viz. that in so-called incidental perception I may connect the content of my perception with the wrong explains the possibility of error. such misattribution could not be accounted for. Says Aristotle: “. Now. III 3. we do not mistake a sensation caused by an object for the object itself. . . And without a in addition to the percept or the sensation. is not the object and the sensation but the form inherent in the sensible object as compared to the sensible form of the object as it appears in the soul. 428b22-24). When Caston suggests that the possibility of error requires a decoupling of the object from the content of perception. we are not mistaken on the point that there is white [in front of us]. I believe that although Professor Ferrarin is presumably aware of this argument by Caston. but about whether the white object is this thing or another we may be mistaken (An. Clearly.. What is like here according to Aristotle. the fact that it uses sensations to generate sensible forms or universals that refer to the sensible features of things. I think that Caston’s point that has the function of explaining the otherwise inexplicable existence of error is well taken and difficult to dispute.. I also have two reservations. First. his analysis of the relationship between cause of perception and mental or psychic content needs refinement. I believe that his interpretation of the role of in cognition does not go far enough. The fact. III 8. he probably had his reasons not to follow its lead. because the two are already unlike. It does not address what I believe to be the most fundamental and at the same time indispensable function of for cognition. 5 Let me briefly state what I think needs to be fine tuned in Caston’s account and then elaborate some more on what I take to be the most basic and indispensable function of in cognition. only without the matter. For the object or cause does not need to be distinguished from the sensation.e.

There is a) the physical sensation. 417a17-20.e.” only “without matter. But what I have been arguing also implies among other things that cannot possibly be simply identical with the sensory content of perception. Hence I find myself in agreement with Professor Ferrarin when he warns explicitly that should not be identified without further ado with sensory images. too. To elaborate. I am now claiming that are sensible forms. As I see it.. Consequently. The process of perception establishes a likeness in the modality of the form.. The mistakenly associated form may be suggested to me by my memory. “like sense-perceptions.e. the man in the toga) but which could conceivably be the substratum of other forms as well (albeit within limits)..e.COMMENTARY ON FERRARIN 117 of the sensation. i. not a likeness of sensation and sensible object. 6 The sensation is only the vehicle for the form. universals. For it would explain why then there could . e. These other sensible forms are supplied by . Note that I am tacitly assuming here that correlations between sensory images and or sensible forms must exist in my memory to explain errors in incidental perception. i. What happens in the case of error. the content of perception is twofold. by what I expect to see due to an association of the present sensation with what I have already seen or perhaps merely imagined. not mere sensations. but which is normally correlated with some other sensible form. and that memory may contain both memory images. is a mistaken marriage of sensible form with a sensory substratum whose potentialities are not restricted to a particular form (e. i. i.g. 6 7 as ‘images’ makes it near . In other words.g.. therefore. as well as sensible forms. without sensible forms as their be no thoughts without prerequisite.. I believe this point is one of his most important contributions without which the mystery of cannot be resolved. are universals simply because they are sensible forms. An. And it might help us better understand why we need in the act of contemplation itself. II 5. Indeed. images of particulars. to identify with sensible forms would make very good sense in the light of De anima III 8 where the intelligible forms are said to be ‘among’ the sensible forms.e. the sensation I have may be like some other sensation I had and which is now memorized as a memory image.” 7 I would _________ Cf. It should be noted that Hamlyn’s translation of impossible to see that are indeed universals. and b) the sensible form for which the sensation serves as the material substratum.. if are universals whereas it seems hopeless to try to understand why we would need images to think.

addressing the true origin of therefore. Intelligent perception would then always involve the marriage of a sensible substratum (which. but only an occasion not the occasion for the production of of their actualization. but I do not think that this necessarily invalidates my conjecture. the formation of erroneous perceptual judgments that generates and that therefore should be referred to as the primary activity of . It is reasonable to assume. in order to be called up by the judging faculty.. So while are certainly involved in the case of erroneous incidental perception as argued by Caston. II 19 which involves the retention of percepts in memory.. ambiguous percept. would come from memory images) with an already existing with which we are familiar. the process though which sensible forms. This is. at least in the initial stages of concept formation. Rather. III 3. that are produced during the process called induction in An. we (sensibly) perceive the particular while (intelligent) perception is of the universal. given that the genesis of sensible forms presupposes memory. This is how. however. Only on the basis of such retention do universals emerge in the soul. emerge in the soul through induction. Post. or at least independent from. At An. Through the actualization of the . This is why I suggested earlier that Caston’s argument. that error is . This means. they are not produced ad hoc on the occasion of making an erroneous judgment..e. In other words. universals. indistinct. it is actualized and thus becomes the actualization of the meaning potentially inhering in the underlying sensible substratum. i. Aristotle begins a somewhat convoluted argument to the effect _________ 8 I realize that is not mentioned in APo. .118 KLAUS BRINKMANN also want to argue that practically all sensible forms are .e. in the case of dreams. Let me broaden the perspective a little by first focusing on a passage in De Anima III 3 that is also discussed by Professor Ferrarin.e. i. II 19 at all. The role of in cognition may not yet have been worked out by Aristotle at the time of the Analytica Posteriora. does not go far enough in . convincing as it is within its own scope. as I proposed. the coalesces with the sensible substratum. to coin a phrase. In actual perception. are not invented out of the blue whenever we encounter a case of an unclear. famously. So there must be a cognitive process that is more fundamental than.. 8 My line of argument seems to be confirmed when Aristotle insists that are parasitic upon sensory impressions. i. I suggest. 428a24ff. we experience the object in its selfgivenness as a particular of a certain kind. they must lie ready in the mind. in memory.

it is not an interpretive or a judging faculty which leads to a belief. however. although we believe it to be bigger than the inhabited world (An. It is not a form of belief in the sense that it would interpret or judge perceptions. nor some synthesis of belief and perception. nor a form of belief prompted or induced by the perception. if were indeed some form of belief. This would constitute a case of deceptive perception that could not be corrected. (In parenthesis. Hence Aristotle should not be construed as saying that in the case of the sun we are initially misled to believe that the sun is actually only a foot across and only later come to understand that this is a deception. and with this formulation I believe I would want to agree. The sensible form of the sun’s apparent shape would be taken to be identical with its sensory substratum. Aristotle’s reductio of the claim that is a form of belief runs as follows. when we have at the same time a true supposition about them.” In other words. then all our perceptually based judgments would be incorrigible. It is important for my argument. that this not be so. because its apparent size would be taken to be its real size. because he holds (pp. unless there were independent evidence to the contrary. 428b14). Whatever may be. the sun appears a foot across. Things could in reality not be other than what they looked like.COMMENTARY ON FERRARIN 119 that is “neither belief together with perception. What Aristotle is saying here is that if were a belief based on sensation. 98-99) that can be a faculty of judgment in certain cases. If were a form of belief.g. But things can also appear falsely. But then this independent evidence would likely suffer from the same inherent flaw. One of his examples is that of the sun appearing to be one foot across. nor belief through perception. as Professor Ferrarin reminds us. is not a form of belief. e. III 3. The thought that the sun might be bigger than the inhabited world could not occur to us. an example which occurs also in On Dreams. we would be systematically misled or deceived by it. because nothing could appear falsely. something’s appearing to us will … be believing what one perceives. According to Aris- . and not incidentally. Professor Ferrarin also says in the same context that “becomes” interpretation in certain cases.) Aristotle supports his claim that is not a form of belief by analyzing cases which would become inexplicable or paradoxical. If were indeed a form of belief. nor a blend of belief and perception. Here Professor Ferrarin might contradict me.

The understanding of the sensation as an appearance of something has built into it that large objects may look comparatively small from a distance. just because it is understood that the sensory substratum is not an adequate representation. Hence there is no deception that would need to be corrected. [i. it would also follow that we shall have abandoned the true belief we had. For if we were initially deceived by the appearance of the sun. such an interpretation would lead to inconsistencies. III 3. the appearance of the sun as a foot across is not misleading at all. the latter absurd. the same one [i. but not misleading. 10 And I must admit that according to my interpretation the difference between the two seems to be merely that between potentiality and actuality. III 8. if we still have it. but Husserlian. II 10 Cf. I doubt that Aristotle here equates ‘false’ with ‘deceptive’ or ‘misleading. not propositional but phenomenological. . It could be argued that I am now identifying and the universal element in perception much too closely. I suggest. However. You may remember that Descartes uses the very same example of the sun in order to show that the senses are systematically misleading and cannot be relied upon. although we had no reason to abandon our true belief]. 428a 5-16. The sensible impression of the sun is already customarily associated with the sensible universal called ‘sun’ which qua universal is no longer tied to any particular image of the sun. An. vol. 428b 4-8). ‘false’ here just means ‘inadequate.e. Erroneous perception could then be explained _________ 9 See Descartes 1984. or..120 KLAUS BRINKMANN totle. but only an instance of the appearance of the thing. against Aristotle’s explicit argument in De anima III 3 that and must be kept distinct. however. 27. contains a component of sensation that normally does not. although the circumstances remain as they were . and in general that appearances should not be taken at face value. . 9 On a phenomenological reading.’ Instead. . The former alternative would be irrational.e. So it seems we must further distinguish between a that is actualized without an accompanying sensation due to perception and one that is. So something must be wrong with believing that the appearance of the sun is deceptive and leads to or induces in us a false judgment that must later be corrected.. The little word “false” in “false appearance” should therefore be treated with caution. although our reasoning is capable of correcting this senseinduced error.’ To interpret ‘false’ as ‘deceptive’ means to adopt a Cartesian point of view whereas I believe the point of view to adopt here is not Cartesian. belief] must be both true and false (An.

I have to leave this an open question for now. This may not be enough to explain all functions of generated by . In both cases the actualization of the is experienced as if they were perceptions. 82. What I have not accounted for are cases such as the willful combination of to form fictitious objects or scenarios for which no counterpart exists in reality. 86. Hence. My response to Professor Ferrarin was more concerned with carving out a role for phantasia that might perhaps be called its most central and epistemologically irreducible function. Professor Ferrarin says much the same thing when he comments that “has a unique cognitive use precisely qua capacity to represent” (p.e. 100). 11 BOSTON UNIVERSITY _________ 11 of It seems to me that this distinction is neglected or even ignored in Modrak’s account : cf. we would never be able to effect the separation between the sensation and our representation of the object.COMMENTARY ON FERRARIN 121 as a mistaken perceptual judgment in which a was wrongly associated with a perceptual matter generated by sensation whereas in the case of dreaming a combination of perceptual matter and is . This is the function we most readily assign to the imagination today. i. if all we had were sensations. 169.. . we are in direct contact with the real thing. enables us to do just that by putting sensations in perspective. perceiving them as appearances that must be distinguished from their sensory substratum. 84. 87. I think it is worth emphasizing that this function would be difficult to identify. if are not distinguished from images. Again. Modrak 1987. although both erroneous perception and dreaming could still be explained in this way. In sensation and perception.

C. C. Nussbaum. 1978." in Dialogue.” in Hegel e Aristotele. Casertano. M. immaginazione e giudizio pratico. Canto-Sperber. _______ 2004. "L'imagination au pouvoir. Studio su Aristotele e Kant. Lycos.). The Theory of Imagination in Classical and Medieval Thought.:193-209. T. Viano (ed. Dewender and T." in Imagination— Fiktion—Kreation. Cubeddu.” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 66: 4769. "Mouvement des animaux et motivation humaine dans le livre III du De anima d'Aristote. “Neoplatonic Interpretations of Aristotle on Phantasia." in Dialogue. 1991. Lanham. Princeton. Saggezza. Paris: 333-48.” Phronesis 29: 17-49. 1: 41-58. Ferrarin. Sur le de anima d’Aristote.FERRARIN BIBLIOGRAPHY Blumenthal.).). 1990. indistinction et pathologie de la perception. “Kant’s Productive Imagination and Its Alleged Antecedents. “Imagination and Truth in Aristotle. R. 2003. Hegel and Aristotle. "La Phantasia chez Aristote: subliminalité. M. "Le role de l'imagination dans le mouvement animal et l'action humaine chez Aristote. Formigari. “Why Aristotle needs Imagination. “Imagination humaine et imagination animale chez Aristote." in Les Etudes Philosophiques. Labarrière. J.). J.” in The Impact of Aristotelianism on Modern Philosophy. Castoriadis. “Le role de l’imagination dans la philosophie aritostélicienne de l’action. Bundy. E. Paris: 44162. “Aristotle and Plato on Appearing. et selon Aristote. 1995.” Phronesis 18: 156-75. Pisa. Cagliari 1997: 253-93. I. New York. 1976. _______ 2001.Bodéüs. Rome: 149-66. “Riproduzione di forme e esibizione di concetti. “ Reconsidered.” In World in Fragments. Lefebvre. _______ 2001. K.. D. Sur le de anima d’Aristote. München and Leipzig: 23-43.J. 1990. 1927. Viano (ed. G. Modrak. A. H.” in Imago in phantasia depicta. 29:1: 41-63. Hankinson. Washington. 1977. “The Discovery of the Imagination. Brann. F." in Dialogue. C.” Review of Metaphysics 31: 230-41.).W. Stanford: 213-45. The World of the Imagination. Göttingen. Freudenthal. V. in Corps et Âme.H. _______ 1997. Illuminati. R. 1990." in Les Etudes Philosophiques. Funzioni cognitive dell’immaginazione nei commentatori di Aristotele. Über den Begriff des Wortes bei Aristoteles. R. D. Sum and Substance. 1996. . Welt (eds. C. Aristotle’s De Motu animalium. Busche. J.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 14/3: 259-65. “Quasi una fantasia. Engmann. Movia (ed. Caston. J. Pozzo (ed. eds. L. G. “Hegel’s Interpretation of the Aristotelian NOUS. 1: 3-40. 1996. Frère.” Mind 73: 496-514. Studi sulla teoria dell’immaginazione.T. 1997. “Fonction représentative et représentation. "Die Aufgaben der phantasia nach Aristoteles. _______ 1997.” in Corps et Âme. 1863. 1996. Immaginazione e pensiero dalla aristotelica alla Einbildungskraft in Kant e in Hegel. 29:1: 65-78. M. Cambridge.” in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 18: 65-92. Aristotle’s Theory of Language and Meaning. J. "Perception and Evaluation: Aristotle on the Moral Imagination.. _______ 2004.C. R. 29:1: 21-40. Champaign.L. 1997. H. Dugré.

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1 Greek law had a feeble posterity. (Oxford. They are defective insofar as the Greeks did not leave behind any properly juridical literature. and it is as partial as it is biased. (Paris.A. our sources are deficient because the preserved texts have most often been purged of their properly juridical content: the text of the laws to which the speeches refer has not always been reproduced in the manuscripts. 30-63 for a presentation of all the sources. The understanding we have today of Greek law and justice is restricted by the paucity of sources. 1 . University of Oklahoma Press. which should then be read or recalled). many more than those of the term “law” today. Clarendon Press. (Blackwell. Each of these three works will be designated simply by the author’s name. the properly juridical uses of the term already had such a considerable history and importance that the Platonic argument would remain incomprehensible if we did not recall them. 1999). each of which contains complementary bibliographical references and indispensable specifications. moreover. The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure. 3 As Todd recalls. translated by J. Todd.M. Publications de la Sorbonne. 2 See Todd. and the sources we have for it remain few and for the most part exclusively Athenian. to appreciate the specificity of the Platonic treatment of the law. In ancient Athens. 1993). and editors did not think it useful to reproduce the texts of the laws that might be cited in the speeches (very often. Finally. I shall refer most often to the work by S. The Shape of the Athenian Law. C. 2 This literature offers nothing comparable to the treatises of the Latin jurisprudents. p. Hansen. • was a term with a very large number of meanings. Lectures des Lois de Platon. and is sometimes only summarized allusively. In judicial matters. a brief lemma simply indicates that a legal text figured in the speech. and Ideology. _________ In these pages. p. insignificant in comparison to Roman law. 1999). the texts of the principal Athenian orators were transmitted by posterity for their literary qualities. Bertrand. H. and our only primary sources are speeches that were written by orators to be pronounced at trials. we will follow J. Principles. 3 Apart from the judicial speeches. Crook. since the trials for which these speeches were written by professional orators represented only a fraction of court cases. 44. for or against the defendant. 1991.COLLOQUIUM 4 ENCHANTING THE SOULS ON PLATO’S CONCEPTION OF LAW AND “PREAMBLES” JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU Before it became a major term in Platonic political arguments. I limit myself essentially to three studies. 7. De l’écriture à l’oralité. historical and social information will be dependent on M. Above all. and pp.

adapts. for the same reasons as the “constitutional” writings found in Aristotle or in some passages of the historians. Thus. here again.126 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU the historical material remains very meager with regard to Greek law outside of Athens. in the other Platonic dialogues. 57-82. whom he probably opposed (436-338).375) was of the same generation as Plato. like Isocrates. p. In what follows. This relative poverty at least has the merit of privileging the city of which Plato was a citizen. Thucydides. Lisi. for the simple reason that not all aspects of the legislation of the Magnesians have an equivalent in what we know of Athenian legislation. sometimes in a less elaborate way. however incomplete the testimony of the orators may be. The Term • The history of their usages teaches us that the verb • and the noun do not immediately designate the fact of legislating or the law. The verb • can thus designate the division and distribution of land be- _________ 4 Todd. add that the testimony of the Platonic dialogues also contributes to our knowledge of Athenian law.• and to the presence of the law in the dialogues. or Xenophon). We must. and in the same vein we can be glad that the essential part of the judicial speeches were pronounced by contemporaries of Plato. pp. What we have just rapidly indicated will be specified further on. L. or invents. as we advance in the description of the legislation of the Magnesians. a few lexical and conceptual remarks will be devoted to Platonic usages of the term . but also to pastoral practices (the shepherd is a ). it nevertheless gives a glimpse of judicial practices that is perfectly contemporary with what Plato knew of them. the poverty of historical testimonies we find in the works of Herodotus. There is indeed a coherent conception of the law in the Platonic corpus. .” Revue philosophique. 38-40 (who nevertheless emphasizes. Lysias (444-c. 4 This does not fail to cause difficulties in the case of the Laws. as we shall see later. 5 I. and Demosthenes (384-322) wrote a good many of his speeches while Plato (428-348) was still alive. and to which he objected. This should enable us to understand that the way the Laws define the law (and this holds for legislation and justice as well) does not depart from what is said. corrects. 1. “Les fondements métaphysiques du nomos dans les Lois. so that it is often difficult to make allowances for what Plato adopts. The meaning of the two terms is initially attached to the distribution of land and goods. moreover. 2000. 5 This coherence was set forth most recently in the study by F.

the whole formed by the laws (a whole that can be personalized. such-and-such a particular law. Millet and S. and this unfortunately forbids us from holding with certainty that each occurrence of • designates a law or “the” law.” in Nomos: Essays in Athenian Law. and the use to which its life is ordered. the ancient texts more spontaneously use the plural • to designate the law. as well as for the way in _________ 6 The examination of an argument found at the beginning of book VII will enable us to identify some of these related terms (see infra. together with P. so much so that the term may be synonymous with that of . it is because this law distributes at the same time as it orders. this meaning turns the law into a common prescription. that is. Millett and S. Cambridge University Press. or the “pasture. to refer to the totality of the sis. If designates the law that prescribes conduct in the city.” The activity of distributing lands and the exercise of pastoral authority also gave its initial meaning to the term • (as they did to the almost identical term . A. Cartledge. 10-11. prescription. 18-19). that is. a custom. Distribution. capable of being written down. ed. The term • has an extraordinary semantic amplitude. the term may designate the two realities that English distinguishes under the name of “law” and “laws” (or Latin under those of ius and lex). Todd. Society and Athens. C. which has exclusively preserved the pastoral meaning and designates a portion of territory. or a habit. 1990). but also the behavior of animals on the land thus distributed. and they reserve the singular • for the designation of a particular law. a field or pastureland). in other words. A. This provides evidence. its appropriate share. P. Politics and Society.” since the documentary lacuna make this expression fragile: “Law. the delimitation of this land. as connotations that are found in the prose of the Classical period. as Plato does in the prosopopoeia of the Crito). it also designates the totality of prescriptions that are imposed on the city. In this same study. for the interweaving of judicial and institutional considerations. but it also designates the habitual usage of the group. and it remits to the group. Millett. its usages and meanings are excessively numerous. P. as to a herd. Todd (pp. 130). C. how prudent we must be when discussing “Greek law. Todd deal with the various meanings attached to the term . 6 In the most strictly juridical sense. Todd himself to have emphasized. To be sure. Let us add in this context that it is the merit of S. p. C. (Cambridge. . P. rather than a simple obligation. the ordered totality of the laws at the same time as the common principles on which they all rest because the legislator has set his world in order on their bais used in its general sense.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 127 tween human beings. C. that is. but also the system of law: here. 7 When law. in the simplest way imaginable. 7 As has been pointed out by S. and usage thus enter into the meaning of as terms related to it.

the fate of the city and that of its legislation. and which prescribes conducts. 1971). we may concede that the educative conception of the law is not specifically Platonic: it is ancient and common. Finally. in the eyes of the Greeks. and it has justifiably been written that the law “always had.128 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU which. Les Belles Lettres. in a concentrated form. is a current definition. a function not only of prohibi- _________ 8 It is. in the midst of the debate on the nature of the law promoted by the Sophists at the turn of the 5th and 4th centuries. it can be argued that the definition of the law as a common prescription or prescriptive discourse imposed on all. this link is sealed as follows: Over and against all these [states the Athenian Stranger. and when this is expressed as a public decision of a state. even though the necessity of the law. which are not exclusively Platonic. that is. its content. desired or experienced. Quite the contrary. by which we judge the relative merits of pleasure and pain. The law is thus defined. the characteristic features of the representation of the law common to all those who pronounced an opinion on it in the Classical period. Indeed. pleasures. in the interest of the city. discourse on law is always immediately a discourse on the civic community and its constitutional organization. For they express rather faithfully. in order to fuse them. speaking of the different powers of the soul] we have ‘calculation’ [ ]. and as such is molded by a thought at the same time as it seeks to be set forth in a rational. one of the lessons of J. he chooses to link together. This definition has many presuppositions. although they might do so in different perspectives or to defend opposite political arguments. this common definition of the law was preserved. On this point. Right from the first definition of the given by the Laws. 8 Likewise. it receives the title ‘law’ [ ] (I 644d1-3). This rational thought is then addressed to souls. in general. far from it. . demonstrative way. The great interest of this definition lies in the way it collects and announces the various statuses that the rest of the dialogue will reserve for the law: it is first and foremost a process of reasoning. and the modalities of its writing were controversial (La loi dans la pensée grecque. Rational discourse that teaches all souls what they must appreciate in their interest: such is the initial definition of the law in the Laws. as the reasoning that is imposed on the city. for the Greeks. and pains. which are liable to experience desires. de Romilly’s classic study of the law to show how. but also to perceive a process of reasoning. for instance. the process of reasoning or calculation in which the law consists seeks to dictate to all a judgment on what is and is not to be appreciated. 73-114). Plato does not depart from the usages of his time. (Paris.

This stance could. When. as is the practice of gymnastics. it is in the way he seeks to collect and to found.. we can ask ourselves on what the laws mentioned or molded in the dialogues are exercised. That the observation of the law is a kind of maintenance and care. 227 (see the whole of pp. or what are their various objects. which develops with precision a “psychological” definition of the law. explaining how it informs human behavior by exercising a form of persuasion and constraint upon souls. 227-250). according to _________ 9 J. and in the way he chooses to give them a form of unheard-of extent or depth.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 129 tion and surveillance. this is because the laws are exerted on the citizens. and what sort of “knowledge” does it dispense? II.” 9 It has also been recalled that the law was commonly conceived as the discourse that teaches the citizen who obeys it the paths of virtue. does the law prescribe to the soul its behavior? On what aspects or faculty of the soul is it exerted. on the same principles. is that Plato chooses to designate the soul as the recipient of the law. but Plato’s texts give it a genuine doctrinal justification and an unrivalled development. this definition is assumed as such by the Platonic doctrine. Certain laws concern all the citizens. while others may concern only some of them. what appears in this brief extract from Book I. . Plato defines legislation as the equivalent of a gymnastics of the soul (and justice as its medicine. and that they prescribe certain behaviors to the citizens. but to know on what they are exerted and carry out the operation proper to them. he suggests that legislation must exercise the soul for virtue. p. once again. these various characteristic features. How. be attributed to other contemporary Greek authors. in his Gorgias. op. If Plato distinguishes himself from his predecessors or contemporaries. the resources of which are abundantly described here in the Laws. or else that it makes known governmental decisions or principles of conduct: all this deserves some explanation. but of education. and that the citizen who obeys the law finds in this obedience the opportunity for the improvement and training of his soul. de Romilly. Morals and the Law In order to appreciate the function Plato assigns to the law. cit. The question is not yet that of knowing what these laws deal with. Indeed. If we accept that laws have objects and addressees. 464b). Far from being incidental or full of imagery. precisely.

According to Plato. is followed by that of their objects. and in addition tell him how to distinguish them. and if we also accept that the citizen must adapt his or her behavior to what this collective discourse prescribes. what are the exercises they prescribe. and it is the responsibility of the government and its police auxiliaries to constrain him to do so. but the citizen is indeed the addressee of the law: that is. that within the soul which reasons and knows is a rational faculty that is exerted beside and sometimes against an irascible faculty (the ) and a desiring faculty (the ). It must tell the citizen what good and bad conduct is. thus linking the contents and ends of his legislation to . Insofar as legislative discourse is the discourse that civic authorities address to the totality of citizens. For if the laws act on souls and forge morals. is the seat of knowledge and principle of behavior and actions: the soul. Thus. the law must prescribe for the soul a behavior that it can actualize only if the rational faculty within it is exerted appropriately. in the citizen.130 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU the activities they carry out. We must try to be more precise. then we must say that the law carries out its operation only on the condition that the way the citizen conceives of his or her own behavior. and with what precision or in what number they prescribe them: in addition to the legislation’s addressee. In this very general form. we must ask ourselves how they achieve this. The citizen must act or refrain from acting in conformity with the law. explaining that it is the task of the laws to forge human morals. and decides about it. Because it pronounces judgment on conduct. at least. but that which. Better yet. This mutual arrangement of the psychic faculties is nothing other than the goal Plato assigns to legislation. is the mission Plato assigns to the legislative text. moreover. this is a definition of legislation that is to be found in the Platonic texts. If we accept that the text of the law is written down. it must assume an edifying and pedagogical vocation. how they make psychic “gymnastics” possible. and is offered to the citizen reader who has an obligation to become aware of it. which Plato holds should not simply forbid illicit conduct. or . which is thus “psychological” in nature. is affected by this legal discourse. This. we must examine its extent and its precision. without being impeded by the other faculties. the law’s addressee is not exactly the citizen as such. The question of the laws’ intention. but indicate and favor good morals. as it is. The law is thus exerted on the souls of the citizens. or on ways of life (morals or ) the law is an ethical discourse. and its specific operation consists in promoting a specific economy in the exercise of the psychic faculties. he is the person to whom a discourse prescribed by the legislator is addressed. also in the rest of ancient and even modern judicial thought.

addressed to the citizen and intended to persuade him. deplores the fact that demagogues simply seek to persuade their public (and their electorate) by flattering it but by no means instructing it or making it better. which requires a discursive instrument apt to make governmental decisions and legal prescriptions known to the entire population. see the article by L. in the condemnation of judicial rhetoric. In addition. This rhetoric is indispensable for the writing of laws. L. Taming Democracy. and make the entire city attain the happy end of virtue. according to whether the perspective is that of the pedagogic relation (as in the Phaedrus. to accomplish virtue in the city. . civic festivals and banquets. is capable of instructing its auditor(s). 12 Plato habitually opposes a perverted rhetoric to a good and learned rhetoric which. for its part. in an important study by H. Brisson. A technique of civil discourse is thus required that can _________ 10 The texts from the Gorgias and the Phaedrus are examined.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 131 the ethical considerations that have occupied the beginning of the dialogue and the long exposition of book V: it is the function of the law. 235-262) and above all the specifications by F. but also in the Republic. With this goal in mind. Yunis. “Les fondements métaphysiques du nomos dans les Lois. together with those from the Laws. 1996) (whose chap. was dominant in the democratic Assemblies and the tribunals. Lisi. at XI 937e-938a. 12 Such rhetoric remains indispensable for constructing his political and legislative edifice. where the most essential relevant studies are mentioned. of which we also find elements in the Laws. (Ithaca. for if certain magistrates and guardians of the laws must govern the city according to reason. The legislator is to have some laws preceded by a preliminary discourse. Books II and III). which is based on an indispensable persuasive rhetoric. to censure the conduct contrary to the law that follows. the law serves a particular form of pedagogy. produced a critique as resolute as it was precise of the political rhetoric which. Cornell University Press. even more than of institutions such as meals in common. “Les préambules dans les Lois” (in Lectures de Platon. Vrin. or else that they be convinced that they must obey such prescriptions. in his time. and to praise the conduct it authorizes. This might surprise the reader of Plato who recalls that Plato. see in particular 263b-272b). or else that of mass civic education (in the Laws. The means of this rhetoric are various. Yet this vehement critique. It is the instrument thereof. 11 by no means implies that Plato intends to renounce civic rhetoric. it is indeed necessary that all the citizens subject their own conduct to rational prescriptions. 10 There Plato declares this rhetoric to be manipulative. 2000).” 11 For instance. and thus entirely condemns this political practice. (Paris. by exhortations and threats. According to Plato. particularly in the Gorgias and the Phaedrus. Plato conceives of an unheard-of legislative instrument: the preamble or prelude. VI-VIII are devoted to Plato’s work).

211-236. is how the Athenian can account for the necessity to attach to the text of the law that supplementary piece of writing that bears with it the edifying and genuinely pedagogical mission of legislation: The real job of the legislator is not only to write his laws. with regard to which they play the part both of prelude and of exordium). one derives considerable profit from the terminological remarks of M. compulsion and persuasion (subject to the limits imposed by the uneducated masses) [ . ]. but to blend into them an explanation of what he regards as respectable and what he does not [ . but administer compulsion neat (IV 722 b4-c2). 1987). in which. IV 711c or VI 753a. Plato thus claims to be innovative in this subject. in Le texte et ses représentations. . They never mix in persuasion with force when they brew their laws.. and this innovation is confirmed by the little we know of the codes of Greek laws. Yunis. pp. . 14 Here the philosopher has in mind that the incantation must prepare the soul to receive the prescription and somehow to absorb it. Here. it is assumed by “preambles. These remarks from Book VII remind the reader of the way in which Book IV had justified the need to introduce the law by means of a preamble ( ): A relevant point here is that no legislator ever seems to have noticed that in spite of its being open to them to use two methods in their legislation. in- _________ See. pp. and the perfect citizen must be bound by these standards no less than by those backed by legal sanctions (VII 823a2-6). op. in fact they use only one. among other passages.-M. Lectures des Lois de Platon.132 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU explain to all the citizens what the decisions and prescriptions are. De l’écriture à l’oralité. 13 Plato chooses to confide this rhetorical mission partly to the law: more exactly. The “preamble” (prooímion) is a considerable Platonic innovation. cit. 13-27 (who show that the term designates the preliminary hymn that precedes the recitation of epic poems in rhapsody contests. and finally from the contextual presentation of H. but which can also persuade the citizens to follow them: to govern is to persuade. (Paris.” which consist in a text attached to some laws and intended to precede them like a musical prelude which must also play the part of an “incantation. 278-287. ]. Lallot. Bertrand. from the Platonic analyses of J. Presses de l’ENS. to make it hers.” as Plato repeats several times. Costantini and J. 13 14 . among several other similar passages. In different registers. who for his part focuses on comparing the rhetorical vocation of the Platonic preambles with those of certain judicial discourses. “Le prooímion est-il un proème?”. to which a good number of studies have been devoted.

but above all it must be diffused orally: the “herald” is an important personage in the city of the Magnesians. proposes a few elements of comparison between this code and what is contained in the Laws in “Plato’s code and Greek law. Finally. insofar as the law may not be transgressed. . whereas that which it prohibits is. by E. all that appears is the statement of the law and the inventory of penalties incurred when it is transgressed. The law’s text includes a description and a form of coercive expectation: it defines the offence that must not be committed. the preamble does not have the mission of persuading the citizens that it is appropriate to obey it. and to promote the community of judgments _________ 15 As far as codes are concerned. 27-29 Novembre 1997. 15 In this way.” Dike. then 921d-e. see in particular IX 874a. Maffi. or again XII 946d). 185-214. ed. In this way. the essential bibliography is recalled and updated in the vast review by A. and it may be inscribed on various supports. It has another function. the law merely prescribes. pp. the most complete and interesting document is that of the laws of Gortyna. 16 However. while another auxiliary doctor treats slaves and contents himself with prescribing remedies for them).” in La codification des lois dans l’antiquité (Actes du Colloque de Strasbourg. 16 See. 17 Its text is written down. To be sure. at the same time as he presents the remedy: the text of the law. otherwise more important. Like the law. As such. 17 and intended to promote the rational and virtuous order of the city. This is why Plato assimilates it to constraint and force. the preamble is a discourse enunciated by the legislator. which is indicated concisely by the extract we have just quoted (from VII 823a): it must give the citizen an opinion or judgment on what is “beautiful” and what is not. as is indicated in its way by the comparison with the two doctors at IV 719e-720e (a doctor treats free men by trying to instruct them about their illness and persuading them to adopt a remedy. Lévy gives a translation and a commentary of the code of Gortyna: “La cohérence du code de Gortyne. in its nakedness. bad. it will be up to the preamble to persuade every citizen that the conduct favoured by the law is good. M. the goal is to make the citizen’s judgment conform to what is prescribed by civic reason. Plato denounces a form of incompleteness of the legislation in vigor. IV 722b-c. Lévy. 161-225. XI 917c. 2003. Université Marc Bloch de Strasbourg and de Boccard. who has devoted several studies to it. Gargarin.” article cited.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 133 deed. Penal coercion is thus announced. E. cannot be sufficient unto itself to justify its reason for existence and its pertinence. (Strasbourg and Paris. 6. “Studi recenti sul codice di Gortina. In the same collective work. Strasbourg 2000). then the penalty that would sanction it if the prohibition were transgressed. 2000). On the public dissemination of legislation. on the contrary. first and foremost. alternately the city messenger and public reader of laws or sentences.

haven’t the unity of a swarm of bees: they are not a single people from a single territory settling down to form a colony with mutual goodwill between themselves and those they have left behind. you see. (IV 708b1-d5) Here. On the other hand. when it’s bad laws that have stimulated the revolt. but in others it’s rather difficult. Gagarin. this necessity was stated at the beginning of Book IV. their reluctance to tow the line presents the founder and lawgiver with a difficult problem. . but they certainly won’t find it easy to accept law or political systems that differ from their own. a miscellaneous combination of all kinds of different people will perhaps be more ready to submit to a new code of laws—but to get them to ‘pull and puff as one’ (as they say of a team of horses) is very difficult and takes a long time. 217-220. and the rebels try in their new home to keep to the same familiar habits that ruined them before. who will use the resources of _________ 18 This is well established in the work. When a single people speak the same language and observes the same laws. 18 This presupposes a properly poetic aptitude on the part of the legislator. and on some occasion a whole state took to its heels after being overcome by an attack it could not resist. Such migrations occur because of the pressures of land-shortage or some similar misfortune: sometimes a given section of the community may be obliged to go off and settle elsewhere because it is harassed by civil war. The emigrants. who likes to explain the legislator’s intentions to the jurors. you get a certain feeling of community. because everyone shares the same religious rites and so forth. particularly Demosthenes. that is at the very beginning of the foundation of the virtuous city. Sometimes. that common. comparatively easy. in some ways. by H. which is to be established as a colony in Crete: So it won’t be all that easy for the Cretan states to found their colony. pp. unique breathing that is evoked ( ) to explain that the city is complete and virtuous when the citizens share the same morals and the same feelings. as is attested by the long preamble addressed to the colonists and future Magnesians citizens that begins at IV 715e. The legislator thus has the opportunity to describe the principles that govern his legislation (see also the remarks by M.” and that “perhaps Plato found inspiration in such explanations” (p. and intended to take the place for them of judgment and conduct. that the preamble is a discourse conceived in order to be addressed to the majority of citizens. We now understand that the preamble of the law is conceived as one of the ways to obtain this unique civic way of life. no doubt assembled for the occasion. Yunis. In all these cases to found a state and give it laws is. In the Laws. already cited. It is obvious. 216). who explains in the article already cited that the Platonic preambles have an equivalent “in the speeches for the defense of the orators. it is clear enough that the community of judgement and affection is the goal of the laws.134 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU and affections.

but also pederastic morals. cit. 20 by delivering to them. but to persuade them that such conduct is praiseworthy. 84-86.. 20 Thus. 22 This is the law that proscribes sexual relations with individuals of the same sex or with children. For the legislator. 1984. The law of the Magnesians. for its part. see VIII 840c-842a. This is what is suggested by a remark of the Athenian. endowed with an authority over the citizen that is affective but also sacred. as is explained by the legislation concerning poetic creation. On this point. must be preceded by a persuasive preamble whose principal interest is that it gathers together the _________ 19 This places the legislator in competition with the poets. Gastaldi. as some interpreters have maintained. The preamble. . which finds its conclusion and moral in VII 817a-e (see also the reminder at XI 935c-936b). one more constraining. both of which were in vigor in Greece.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 135 fiction and storytelling in the preamble. “Legge e retorica. Plato thus confers familial authority upon the law. full of love and intelligence” (IX 859a). 223-229). a form of parental admonition. what he should appreciate and what should inspire revulsion in him. to exhort his audience to observe the law. persuades its addressee that certain types of conduct are praiseworthy and others blameworthy: it describes good conduct and its benefits. 22 The law is twofold because two versions of it are given. who must be guided and censored so as not to impede legislative and governmental discourse. 19 The preambles are thus endowed with an educative and edifying function: they must set forth for the citizen what is praiseworthy and what is blameworthy. For this reason. rightly. The law promises a penalty for whomever transgresses what it prohibits: it names bad conduct. 20. and because it touches upon desires that are difficult to master. by H. Through the preamble. with this goal in mind. still less to teach his fellow-citizens a knowledge of a scientific type concerning the various objects with which the law may deal. This prohibition targets homosexual practices. the law is assimilated to the discourse of a legislator endowed with a parental function (which the laws themselves assume in the prosopopoeia of the Crito). 21 In a way. the other less. while another is not. 10.” the law must be “in the attitude of a father and a mother. I proemi delle Legge di Platone. Yunis. 21 The various characteristic features of the preambles are gathered together in a long preamble that is particularly illuminating. that is. because it runs contrary to extant practices and morals. the Platonic preamble has been assimilated to preaching (so. but they are conceived in order to suggest to the citizen what is the appropriate conduct whose absence or transgression the law sanctions (see IX 857b-d).” Quaderni di Storia. that of the twofold law on sexuality found in VIII 835b-842a. pp. op. preambles do not transmit a teaching. who says that instead of a “tyrant and a despot that gives orders and threatens. pp. the point is not to set forth rationally the appropriateness of such-and-such a conduct. see the remarks by S.

which relies on historical reminders or examples to inspire a healthy repugnance towards culpable practices in the citizen. 25 This is what the Republic explains. in a way.” The law thus takes the place of reason. What the preamble must obtain. where Plato also maintains that politics must promote the community of judgment among the various citizens. the preamble is indeed a form of admonition and even of threat. the legislative preamble is assigned an identical mission. cultivate sexual abstinence in order better to triumph). Republic IV 440a-442c. which show clearly that the irascible element in the soul is the one that obeys reason and constrains the desiring element to obey it in turn. who will punish them). 24 and it fills souls. by means of a collective persuasion. . it is thus the preambles that accomplish rational constraint and take the place. is the citizens’ adherence. in its way: see IX 571b-c and 590d-e. in individuals who lack the psychic aptitude to constrain their desires themselves. and finally recourse to the threat of civic dishonour for whoever is unable to master his appetites. of the con- _________ 23 See in particular Timaeus 69d-72e. on the contrary. It makes use of recourse to religious authority as well as threats (the legislator explains to the citizen that these criminal acts are judged as such by the gods. And this adherence is brought about in most citizens by means of a constraint placed upon desire by fear. 25 More exactly. those good beliefs known as right opinions. as is affirmed at VII 839c. This is once again clearly emphasized in the preamble of the law on sexuality. then X 604a. 24 See also Statesman 310e-311a. renounces it because he is afraid of the consequences of his acts.136 JEAN-FRANÇOIS PRADEAU totality of resources of the Platonic preamble. which explains that persuasion is obtained when the individual who feels the desire for culpable practices. who. appeal to tradition (which will have it that one should unite with an individual of a different sex and of the same age). recourse to edifying examples (animals do not have these morals. As the Athenian explains in VIII 840b-e. whatever law it may precede. As we can see. the preamble is a kind of collective incantation that proposes to inspire a collective fear that is effective enough so that the citizen may find in it a means for constraining his own desires to the point of no longer being able to consider transgressing the law. so that the irascible or choleric element of the soul must be brought to bear upon it in order to constrain it by force. a desire which cannot be reasoned with. nor do Olympic champions. “with fear and obedience for the enacted laws. which is familiar to the reader of the Republic and the Timaeus. The preamble’s efficacy relies on a particular psychic mechanism. in which Plato also explained that desire in the soul is particularly recalcitrant to the instructions of reason. 23 The preamble thus dispenses.

26 . the preambles retrospectively illuminate the importance of legislation in the constitutional construction of the Laws. in that constraint of desires and pleasures which the beginning of the dialogue had explained was the first step of virtue in man.ENCHANTING THE SOULS 137 tinuous education of the citizens. in the same sense. Because legislation incorporates that innovation known as the preliminary “incantations. and thus to follow reason. and henceforth suitable for the formation of morals. and finally the construction of the city of the Magnesians: they give it its unique breath. the first step in his education (II 653a-c).” it is endowed with a function and content that immediately exceed what could be found in a simple code of laws. as at banquets. 26 Finally. _________ See the remarks at VIII 846d on the way the citizen is the one who contributes to the good order of the city. since they participate. the preambles bring about unity. by combining the durability of prohibitions with the ethical pedagogy of a rhetoric liberated from the Greek context of debate. that is. for instance. which reigns in the city. Because they enable each citizen to order his own conduct according to the same morals and the same norms. It is indeed a particular form of governmental discourse that Plato conceives under the name of . INSTITUT UNIVERSITAIRE DE FRANCE UNIVERSITÉ DE PARIS X.

For this reason. The principal character. The remaining flaws are my own. which is a difficult but rewarding dialogue. the Athenian ‘stranger. but deliberate and central to the development of Plato’s argument.’ appears to be aware of deeper significance to the conversation. the Cretan Kleinias and Megillus the Spartan appear to take the interchange at face value as legislative. critiques and even undermines the embedded discourse. and he prescribes the reading of the Laws in the education of Magnesian children. English translations of the Laws below are taken from Thomas L. Some elements of the commentary refer to remarks that have been amended or deleted in the published text. The content of their conversation is legislative. I am also grateful for the comments of an anonymous referee who has saved me from making several errors. Pradeau’s scholarly and stimulating paper challenges the reader to reconsider some commonplaces of interpretation in Platonic political thought. COLVERT Professor J. Since Plato conceptualizes the goal of these forms of expression differently. it provides the occasion to ponder Plato’s Laws more diligently. The following critique was made in response to the text of Pradeau’s lecture as delivered at Boston College. 2 He goes on to differentiate between the education of the majority of citizens. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.-F. Pangle. The attentive reader senses that the dialogue operates at different levels and that Plato intends certain readers who are very different from some of the dialogue’s fictional interlocutors to understand this fact. 1988. The Laws of Plato. one cannot always take what is said about law in the Laws at face value. 1 In particular. The dramatic context of the dialogue must shape the reader’s understanding. He describes his speeches variously as mythical and poetic. The narrative structure of the dialogue involves a conversation between three elderly Greeks. and the evidently philosophical training _________ I would like to express my thanks to the BACAP organizing committee and to Boston College for extending the invitation to comment on Professor Pradeau’s paper. At least two of the interlocutors. the reader must face the complexity of a legislative discourse embedded within a philosophical dialogue that reshapes. The fact that it is a Platonic dialogue in which the interlocutors converse about legislation makes it doubly difficult to master because of Plato’s understanding of the diverse purposes of the dialogue form and the work of legislation. 1 . This twin dimension of the work is surely neither incidental nor unintentional.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU GAVIN T. 2 See Laws VII: 811c – 812a.

. We need not look very far for potential examples of such instances throughout the dialogue. Departing from the traditional models of his interlocutors. Nevertheless. takes on the role of an advisor to those who have been formally charged with founding the city.’ Purposefully setting the reading of the Laws alongside other poets. . with the mythic _________ 3 For a detailed discussion of this point see Pangle’s interpretive essay at pp. 5 Ibid.’ 4 The principal architect of the virtual founding of the city in the dialogue. the Athenian appears to distance himself explicitly from the task of the practical legislator. the Athenian praises extensively the idea of carefully regulated drinking parties. and I have promised to help you. he grants on several occasions that the legislator must adapt the virtual foundation to the practical situation and the human condition. With regard to his own role in the process. 5 Furthermore. . he remains mindful of the fact that their virtual foundation does not obey the order in which actual legislation must be considered. 490-1. he introduces a version of the Socratic paradox. he espouses the similar education of the city’s male and female youth. he is surely aware that some will recognize how his very human founding of a city contrasts markedly with the putatively divine basis of other mythical accounts. Shortly thereafter he waxes eloquent about tyranny. and from inculcating virtue to crime and punishment. by describing his contribution to the interlocutors’ legislative conversation as a form of myth: . In the case of punishment. and proposes something like philosophical discourse for the treatment of certain offenses. He provides a complex and detailed model covering every aspect of Magnesian law.’ the members of which resemble a Socratic philosophical society. the Athenian. In other words. carry out a founding. For confirmation of the Athenian’s awareness of this anomaly. he presumes from the start that his legislative discourse goes beyond what is possible in numerous instances. see his discussion of Rhadamanthus at Laws XII: 948b ff. This leads to the establishment of the ‘Nocturnal Council. including military training. Early on. from birth to death. 4 See Laws VI: 778b. with a firm spirit. 3 The three interlocutors are ‘legislators’ in the sense that they discuss the founding of the city of Magnesia ‘in word. you have made a promise to the Cretan nation that you will.’ but they are not presently engaged in founding that city ‘in deed. that all wrongdoing is ignorance. or to consider his position as super-legislative.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 139 that continues into adulthood of those who will compose the ‘Nocturnal Council.

The Athenian’s promise is to his interlocutors. 137). while the fictional audience in the dialogue is composed of elderly non-philosophers who do not always understand the deeper significance of the Athenian’s legislative program.140 GAVIN T. . but not that of the Athenian. he describes himself as a consultant telling a myth to those who have been duly charged with the founding by the Cretans. Furthermore. Pangle suggests that this choice reveals Plato’s ambivalence about the entanglement of the philosopher in the concrete political process. the Athenian’s role as expert advisor. it is clear that the Athenian and by extension Plato are deeply concerned with the education of a younger audience who are suited to philosophical inquiry. the Athenian remains a stranger to his fictional interlocutors. Plato ends the dialogue abruptly with Megillus and Kleinias’ agreement to remain and participate in the actual founding. but we _________ 6 7 Laws VII: 751e-752a (Pangle p. This ambiguous position leaves Plato room for the Athenian to say and do things that transcend the work of the ordinary legislator. precisely because of Plato’s choice to silence the Athenian and give the largely silent Megillus the last word. but the dramatic context shows that concerns similar to those in the Republic are also operative. because of both his geographic and also his intellectual origin. The conclusion of the myth of the Laws is remarkable according to the commentator Thomas Pangle. 7 In response to Megillus’ suggestion that the Athenian be compelled to stay and participate in the actual work of founding the city. the dramatic context of the dialogue. although not to Plato’s audience. For this reason. To the attentive reader. The emphasis here upon practical political life is front and center. 508-509. One is reminded of the dramatic context of the Republic. And surely when I’m telling a myth I wouldn’t voluntarily leave it unfinished. See Pangle. One should avoid the implausible view that the purpose of the Laws is to show that legislation is futile and contrary to the nature of serious philosophical inquiry. Despite the fact that it is the Athenian who does the bulk of the legislative work in the dialogue. pp. The emphasis there was upon a dialogue with young inexperienced philosophical minds in which concrete affairs of the city were secondary. COLVERT discourse we’re now involved in. while Kleinias’ promise is to the Cretan nation. and especially his concluding discourse concerning the constitution and authority of the ‘Nocturnal Council’ should make it clear that philosophical dialogue and philosophers live in a complex relationship to lawmaking in the city. 6 Several points are worth observing here.

two of the interlocutors. this is true both on account of the imaginary interlocutors in the dialogue and Plato’s intended readers. and that the work of legislation occupies a much more central place in the dialogue. Perhaps because of its length and the apparently minute. while others will be more like Kleinias and Megillus. evidence in the Republic and Laws pointing to the fact that central characters conceptualize the end or purpose of similarly as the production of virtue in citizens. The following critique of Pradeau’s paper is intended to show that the dramatic context of the dialogue lends support to some of his conclusions and calls others into question. seem to have little interest in or appreciation for philosophy. He is certainly correct to argue that a serious reconsideration of Plato’s account of law in the later dialogues is worthwhile. Even if we grant that the way some central characters deploy the term in key Platonic dialogues such as the Republic and Laws is similar. Unlike the Republic. Interpreters seem to have been relatively complacent with the stock view that the dialogue represents a pragmatic turn and a corresponding doctrinal evolution in Plato’s thinking about law later in life. and cannot therefore be expected to share the intimacy necessary for philosophical inquiry. even tedious. for instance. the Athenian. . this would not be enough to tell against the historical evolutionary thesis. the Cretan and the Spartan. in addition to its dialogue form. The attentive reader senses that Plato has in mind some of his readers will be more like the philosophical Athenian. tempers and reshapes its surface legislative program.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 141 must assume that the content of the work. A cursory examination of the Republic and the Laws reveals that there is more legislative work going on in the latter. His line of argument rests upon showing that a single conception of the term can be found across several Platonic dialogues. This suggests that one especially important contextual difference to be considered with regard to Plato’s use of is the audience to whom the dialogue is addressed. In the case of the Laws. not friends. Moreover. attention to legislative details not found elsewhere. So. the characters in the Laws are virtual strangers in a conversation. the Laws has received less careful attention lately than it deserves. must speak differently simultaneously to each of these audiences. Pradeau takes issue with this standard interpretation and makes a case for the conclusion that some interpreters of Plato have been quick to see a doctrinal change that is not supported by the texts in question. cannot by itself show that Plato’s conception of the value and role of law in shaping political life remains unchanged. Plato’s principal interlocutor. as the foregoing considerations of audience and context must be taken into account.

this is because they knew the fools to whom they were speaking thought they were kings and emperors. and Laws may well constitute a continuous line of thought. they did it playfully. It is beyond the scope of this critique to demonstrate such a thesis. which calls into question the assertion of an historical development in Plato’s doctrine of . Consideration of the context and audience. COLVERT At the same time. If they wrote about politics.142 GAVIN T. The intended purpose will be to show that it remains unclear whether the similar use of the term by certain key Platonic characters implies that Plato always treats law or puts it to use in the same way. Evidence concerning the dramatic context of the Laws suggests another plausible thesis. the author shall therefore not aim to disprove J. And if they appeared to be speaking about an important matter. Paris: Éditions Gallimard. S’ils ont écrit de politique. The Republic. Plato’s view of the role of law in political life may not have changed much from the Republic. and like others. Statesman. but not an identical one about the law. Suffice it to say that there is evidence in the dialogic structure of the Laws that may provide support to Pradeau’s thesis. laughed with their friends.-F. That was the least philosophical and the least serious part of their lives. Pensées. The most philosophical part was to live simply and peacefully. C’étaient des gens honnêtes. They were honest people. A useful way to introduce this line of thinking is found in a curious passage from Pascal’s Pensées. in order to moderate this folly and make it as harmless as it could be. quand ils se sont divertis à faire leurs Lois et leurs Politiques. c’était comme pour régler un hôpital de fous. but it contains a kernel of truth: One only imagines Plato and Aristotle in grand academic robes. riants avec leurs amis. pp. 139-140: “On ne s’imagine Platon et Aristote qu’avec de grandes robes de pédants. et. et s’ils ont fait semblant d’en parler comme d’une grande chose. 1962. In the following remarks. the historical evolutionary view is not unquestionably correct. They delved into their principles. et comme les autres. Pradeau’s principal thesis. When they entertained themselves by writing their Laws and their Politics. even if the thesis itself is not sufficiently demonstrated by his terminological considerations. suggest that he deployed his discourse about the law differently under varied circumstances. both the dramatis personae of the dialogues and the intended readers. What he has to say there about Plato and Aristotle is evidently an exaggeration intended to amuse. Texte établi et annoté par Jacques Chevalier. it was as if to regulate a lunatic asylum. 8 _________ 8 Blaise Pascal. . but the manner of presentation and points of emphasis may change greatly depending upon the intended audience and dramatic context. ils l’ont fait en se jouant. c’était la partie la moins philosophe et la moins sérieuse de leur vie: la plus philosophe était de vivre simplement et tranquillement.

a careful reading of Plato’s most legislative work. In particular. ethical and political considerations are at the center of the philosophical way of life. . Indeed.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 143 Surely we should not say. Nevertheless. for Socrates and Plato especially. he rejected the commonplace view that Plato turns back to law in the Laws as a second-best solution after despairing about his own failure in life to found a regime modeled upon the virtuous governor in the Republic. pour modérer leur folie au moins mal qu’il se peut. In his opening remarks he endorsed the idea that Plato conceives of law as a tool for the legislator to form the virtuous character of the citizens and the primary or even exclusive means by which the city is to be founded. what Plato thinks about law cannot be separated in the dialogues from the person or persons to whom his discourse about it is addressed. the Laws. 9 Some points of this critique refer to claims that were stated more sharply and at length in the version of Pradeau’s paper presented originally at Boston College. 9 In addition. Pascal undoubtedly asserts with some hyperbole that Plato’s writings on politics are among his least philosophical. as Pascal appears to do. reveals that legislation and practical political life exist in constant tension with the philosophical life. he is not speaking apolitically. Second. The key to this interpretation is the idea that law is not merely a ‘second-best expedient’ adopted for an imperfect world after _________ c’est qu’ils savaient que les fous à qui ils parlaient pensaient être rois et empereurs. a lengthy discussion of the use of in the Republic has been removed from the final text and more categorical assertions about the exclusive and sufficient role of law in founding a political community have been omitted. that Plato’s political discourse in general or his Laws in particular represent the least philosophical moment in his thinking. From the structure of Pradeau’s argument. Pascal’s observations raise some interesting challenges for Professor Pradeau’s central assertions in the paper. while speaking with apparent seriousness about the law and its purposes. First. Pascal makes at least two points here that are worthy of our attention. We might refine this point by saying that where Plato’s interlocutor the Athenian becomes most concerned with philosophical matters in the Laws. one detects a deep sense of ambivalence in Plato about law’s ability to bring about its stated purpose. but he does call into question the surface reading of the legislative program proposed therein. Ils entrent dans leurs principes. it is clear that we are to reject the commonplace interpretation because it can be shown that Plato’s deployment of the term in the mouths of certain interlocutors is the same across important dialogues.” (Translation mine) I am indebted to my colleague Marc LePain for bringing this passage to my attention.

one must ask to what extent does Plato intend to express confidence in the law’s ability to accomplish the proper and complete formation of an ordinary citizens’ character? Alongside repeated references to the end of law as productive of virtue and the happiness of the community. according to Pradeau. The better educated physician converses with an intelligent patient in order to produce understanding and assent to the prescription of the cure. and that they should attain it is to a certain extent a matter of divine intervention or luck. while granting that law has a protreptic purpose. 12 It should be stressed that these are all features of the argument in the Laws. The gods have placed sweat and sacrifice in the way of the attainment of virtue. Indeed. Furthermore. See Laws IV: 720-723 discussed below. See Laws XII: 965b ff. For instance.144 GAVIN T. which if anything is more sanguine about the use of law in the political community than the Republic or the Statesman. COLVERT a loss of confidence in the program of moral education in the Republic. Vice is said to be sweet and easy. but this conversation is not part of the work of the prescription as such. an entirely separate program of education (one presumes philosophical dialectic) is required for the education of members of the ‘Nocturnal Council’ in the Laws. In addition. he is careful to distinguish persuasive or hortatory language from the prescriptive character of legislation itself. See Laws XII: 966c-d. for Plato the law consistently has a protreptic character throughout his mature works. 10 Indeed. ordering citizens to the attainment of full virtue. 11 Only a tiny minority of citizens will ever attain the state of virtue necessary for eligibility for the Council. 13 The physician’s assistant provides only prescriptive guidance to patients who are not suited to the discourse of the master physician. We must ask whether a consistent use of terminology throughout entails precisely these other conclusions. while the Athenian stranger clearly articulates a perfective end or purpose to the law. The role of the legislator and statesman is essential to the production of a virtuous community. This is analogous _________ 10 11 12 13 See Laws IV: 718-720 discussed below. we find a significant degree of skepticism about the likelihood that citizens will take up the call to virtue in the Laws. . Few are inclined to achieve it and it seems very uncertain that we will preserve it in political communities just because they are under the discipline of laws. what is needed for the success of a political community is a certain kind of ruler or rulers whose own character is sufficient to inspire and produce obedience to law.

the legislator should produce certain ‘preambles’ to the law. While these considerations do not lead us to doubt that the purpose of law is fundamentally the production of virtue and the happiness of the political community. it does cause us to wonder whether law is sufficient to mold the moral character of citizens. which explain its purpose for the intelligent person. even though Plato is always interested in good laws as a foundation for virtue. Here three points must be distinguished. Pradeau may be successful in showing that Plato did not change how his central characters employ the term ‘law’ between the Republic and the Laws. however. one of which is the dramatic position of the interlocutors. In addition to the legislation itself. The Socratic dialogues and external evidence from the letters surely lend support to Pradeau’s idea that Plato did not abandon a utopian dream of the prospects for moral education and personal rule. and Laws about the prospects for law to establish an excellent political community without the aid of a wise ruler or rulers who have the divine spark of philosophic eros. but there is evidence to indicate that he changed his presentation of the usefulness of law in light of the dramatic context and for the sake of his intended audience. it is clear that the Athenian does not think all will be able to grasp the teaching of the preambles and to understand the deeper basis for obedience to the lawgiver’s prescriptions. From this context and the later differentiation of those who should be the guardians of the law from ordinary citizens who are obedient to the law. For various reasons. which this analysis proposes as a conjecture needing further exploration. Second. replacing it with a sober but optimistic view of the law as a second-best expedient. Third. when the different attitudes towards legislation in the dialogues are appropriately contextualized. Statesman. One way to make sense of this attitude. in the Laws he gradually and only partially reveals other necessary ingredients of the virtuous political community. Plato appears quite consistently ambivalent throughout the Republic. is that Plato thought of the laws as a foundational condition for creating a stable political community within which the pursuit of excellence could be allowed to flourish. He did not think of law as an exclusively sufficient cause of the virtuous community. It has been suggested above that this thesis is in fact plausible. this is not to deny that Plato has a consistent account of the role and purpose of law that is operative from the Republic to the Laws. terminological considerations are not sufficient to establish Pradeau’s claim about the uniformity of Plato’s account of law in the dialogues. First. Evidence for .COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 145 to the Athenian’s conception of how the better legislator legislates for intelligent and free citizens.

146 GAVIN T. 706d strengthens this line of thinking by asserting that citizens should never be habituated to vicious habits. It occurs at the beginning of the detailed legislative program for the city of Magnesia. are seen in a quite positive light by the Athenian. it appears indisputable that this is the way in which Plato’s characters consistently articulate their understanding of the role of law. this introduction to the legislative project could not be a more perfect illustration of the thesis that the purpose of law is to produce a virtuous political community. the Athenian suggests some notes of caution. and that the city’s purpose should not be merely preservation but the attainment of moral goodness. and mode of education appropriate to the ‘Nocturnal Council’ in Book XII. such as the lack of a harbor and trees suitable for boatbuilding. purpose. What appear initially to be certain deficiencies in the location and physical endowments of the region. Book IV Book IV begins with Kleinias and the Athenian engaging in a brief discussion of the topography and natural resources of the city of Magnesia. it is worth examining two passages briefly from the Laws that exemplify some of the aforementioned assertions. The two passages provide a set of ‘book-ends’ that illustrate fairly well the project of the work. puts this straightforward conclusion into a more complex light. Each section begins by affirming Pradeau’s basic claim about the protreptic character of legislation. the anomalous way in which it is described cannot be insignificant. At 708d. The founding may be difficult because the city will require much time and effort on the part of the legis- . The first is from Book IV. In order to work out these general observations in some greater detail. At 705e ff. and the Athenian’s efforts to convince Kleinias and Megillus of the indispensable necessity of such a body. The lack of means to establish an easy commercial enterprise and the inability to provision a navy are pluses because these things breed vice and ill conduct in the citizens. but goes on to develop points that underscore the concerns that have been raised. the Athenian offers a definition of the purpose of legislation as tending to produce virtue. authority. And indeed. however. The second is from the end of Book XII. At 707d the Athenian adds that their study of legislation and topography should be made with a view to excellence. The context of the passage. as well as rugged and hilly terrain. Given the almost exhaustive detail in which other elements of Magnesian legislation are specified. COLVERT this claim can be found in Plato’s vagueness about the composition. On the surface.

where Glaucon and Socrates discuss the character of the wise legislator in the Republic is therefore pertinent to understanding this type. like old men playing a child’s game. 14 Plato’s ambivalence comes through loudly and clearly to the attentive reader. Essentially. In order to maintain the appropriate balance of the various elements within the tri-partite soul necessary for perfect virtue. The discourse at the end of Book IX. how can the city reproduce him? Plato is sketchy about this point in the Laws. including knowledge and the virtues. although he suggests in Book XII that the legislator can attempt to perpetuate his abilities through the provision of ‘Nocturnal Councilors’ who must be given the sort of philosophic education Plato proposes for some of his Guardians in the Republic. Consider also that the Athenian dislikes what he sees as the vicious qualities that are inculcated by naval warfare. One can afford to legislate this sort of city into being as an imaginary entity. Several similar instances throughout the succeeding books culminate in the doubts expressed in Book XII.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 147 lator to get the citizens “breathing together” in unison like a pack of horses. The truly great legislator who can found or continually re-found the city as necessary must possess the ‘poetic’ vision of the author of the preambles mentioned above. The difficulty of founding the city of Magnesia can only be overcome by a legislator who has certain extraordinary qualities. How can we produce such an individual? Furthermore. which he apparently regards as contrary to appropriate courage in battle. but we also find a skeptical portrait of the relationship of the legislator to the community. . with a continuous series of ‘fight and flight’ maneuvers. These are by no means incidental obstacles. a good deal of luck and a lawgiver who possesses truth is required. as the Athenian describes their collective enterprise at 712b. He will be unable to participate in politics because the _________ 14 See Laws XII: 968e-969a. where the attempt to found Magnesia is described in the final analysis as an act of gambling. Apparently. founding the perfect city may have tragic consequences. 709a-d suggests in addition that divine concurrence. the legislator it seems must avoid political life. but it is not altogether certain that one can found such a city in fact and in deed. At Republic 590e we find a similar conception of the purpose of law as the production of perfect virtue. Founding a city is a great test of the legislator’s virtue. on the other hand. that the previous success of the Cretan military in battle against Athens owed a great deal to this strategy and to the Cretan navy. naval invasions are fought guerilla style. He is faced with the reality.

and to the chagrin of his interlocutors to be sure. but not as a condition which is essential to Plato’s account of the role of law in founding a really existing political community.148 GAVIN T. The law contributes to this outcome partly by persuasion and partly by coercion. the reader is informed that chance and divine intervention are necessary for success. the Athenian introduces another important element of the foundational portrait at 709e. he characterizes the foregoing description of the initial conditions of the state as a myth. The juxtaposition of these points causes one to wonder: for how many in the community is the protreptic rather than the punitive role of law really meaningful in Plato’s assessment? . whereas vice is perceived to be easy and sweet (718d-e). Socrates concludes that the ideal of perfect legislation can be contemplated as a model. We may be inclined to regard the demand for a virtuously perfect autocrat as merely a device to promote rapid germination of the Magnesian city in the laboratory so to speak. This passage will be discussed momentarily. The legislator will wish for an autocratic ruler in control of this society in order to promote rapid change. At the same time. Furthermore. The difficulty with this assumption is that it is hard to square with the surprising turn of events that culminate in the founding of the Nocturnal Council in Book XII. COLVERT demands of such a life inherently tend to the corruption of his soul. As if to underscore the improbability of this situation. a city will be happy. The law’s ability to achieve its purpose. the Athenian reiterates the familiar line of argument that the purpose of law is to produce a virtuous community. As if this situation is not improbable enough. Returning to the development of Book IV. At 718b he asserts that with the blessing of divine concurrence and citizens who observe the laws. Better yet. is complicated by the fact that people genuinely interested in the attainment of virtue are very hard to come by because it requires a lot of toil and sacrifice. In the end. the Athenian suggests supreme power and wisdom should be combined in the legislator himself (712a). but it cannot be realized in reality without some sort of divine intervention. The Laws appears to take a more optimistic view of the possibility of the legislator in Book IV. however. the Athenian himself remains an advisor to Kleinias and in the final lines of the dialogue Plato chooses to silence him at the moment when his ultimate consent to be a part of the concrete founding of the city is solicited by his interlocutors.

Furthermore. such obedience to law through understanding of the preambles would already require a well ordered soul. 62. p. we hear echoes of Pascal’s hyperbole. even to the point of contradiction.’ nothing specified in the legislative work of books 4-12 is sufficient to capture this work of moral education. A further point made by Leo Strauss about the speech of the legislator in relation to the broader context of the dialogue is worth mentioning. the Athenian argues that the law should contain a persuasive or exhortative dimension. Strauss concludes “Plato’s writings.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 149 In order to elaborate this point.” 17 Again. 15 16 . First. from what we know of Platonic psychology. not merely a prescription or command of action. Two points about the persuasive dimension of law are worth observing. 1975.. the Athenian contrasts the poet and the legislator. but something which is designed to secure docile obedience to the law. it is not law as such. whereas the genuine doctor converses with the intelligent patient and produces understanding of the disease and consent to medical treatment before offering a prescription. So. p. Upon careful reflection the interlocutors realize that the legislator must actually speak with two voices conveying a single message: one exhortative and one punitive. At 720a-e a comparison previously mentioned is made between Greek physicians and their slaves who often serve as physician’s assistants. Strauss points out that the Platonic dialogue overcomes this limitation of ordinary writing by speaking equivocally or with polyvalent meaning. The physician’s assistant dispenses medical advice or prescriptions without further explanation. 17 Ibid. the protreptic element of legislation depends for its success upon some as yet unspecified additional element of moral education. the legislator must always speak with a single voice. 16 As Socrates notes in the Phaedrus. it should be noted that the Athenian explicitly distinguishes this persuasive dimension as a separate or distinct preamble from legislation proper. that is it speaks with a single voice on every subject. Second. are as remote as possible from the legislator’s writings. 15 Whereas the poet speaks with many voices. a defect of all ordinary writing is that it must do exactly what the traditional legislator does. _________ See IV: 719b-e. including the Laws. The Argument and the Action of Plato’s Laws. Like the best doctor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. See Leo Strauss. 62. As will become clear in the case of the members of the ‘Nocturnal Council. In answer to the question of whether Plato in the Laws is writing a dialogue or acting as a legislator.

19 Pangle elaborates this point in his interpretive essay. The context and setting of the dialogue provide an intonation to those terms which shifts their role and purpose in significant ways. or as a comedy. They will find in themselves affinities to Kleinias and Megillus as models. 19 Moreover. who raises troubling questions that seem to leave his interlocutors puzzled. Consider. He does this explicitly in the case of the preambles. but also indirectly by means of the dramatic structure of the dialogue. and that the former as well as the latter activities are thoroughly political. pp. While we ought not to be inclined to read Plato’s Laws purely as esoteric writing. will be struck with wonder by the very human and dialectical character of the interaction between the parties to the discussion. they will find a model in the character of the Athenian. . they may or may not be suited to serve as ‘Nocturnal Councilors’ when they get older.150 GAVIN T. precisely because it incorporates philosophical elements. With this important qualification. 18 Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Plato’s Laws is both legislative and philosophical. _________ 18 See Laws VII: 811c-812a. and that the author of the Laws inaugurates a new kind of poetry with his legislative speeches. Some will surely take its prescriptive dimension at face value as the specification of the duties and responsibilities of Magnesian life. COLVERT although notably Strauss does not say that Plato’s writings are apolitical. however. Plato has inaugurated a new kind of legislative discourse that transcends the traditional legislative model. for example. It would appear that Strauss’s assertion is directly contradicted by the Athenian’s proposal in Book VII that the children of the regime should read the Laws as a part of their education. there is evidently some need for circumspection with regard to the surface employment of terms offered by his interlocutors. the experience of the youth who will be reading this new kind of poetry or myth. 490-1. Others. which is represented by the Laws. cf. I am indebted to the helpful comments of an anonymous reader for the suggestion of this passage and some objections to Strauss’s assertion. however. Strauss’s assertion remains significant. The peculiar turn of events that takes place in Book XII demonstrates that there is more at work beneath the surface portrait of legislation’s role in the production of the virtuous community. and speaks simultaneously to differing audiences. Depending upon their reaction to the dialogue in early life.

that this definition is placed in the mouth of Kleinias. We recognize in it the philosophic training of the wise man to see the one over many and the form of the Good in the Republic. This admission appears startling when one considers the distinction between better and worse physicians from Book IV above. Kleinias observes that law should always aim at the singular end of virtue. Yet. In other words. rather than follow it from a level of genuine depth and understanding. but the Athenian appears to concur with Kleinias’ assertion. It would appear that the appropriate sequel to the last book of the Laws may well be the latter books of the Republic. At 962b we learn that members of the Council must have perfect virtue and a genuine understanding of the true nature of statecraft. The fact that he deliberately condenses the treatment of the subject is itself worthy of consideration. In support of the definition of the purpose of law that Pradeau proposes. Plato provides only the barest sketch of the education that the ‘Nocturnal Councilors’ will receive at 965-967. for whom does the Athenian think the protreptic dimension of the law is truly meaningful? One must conclude that he thinks this is the case for a small minority within the political community. What is even more noteworthy. of course. this education is clearly something other than what the discipline of the laws . A brief review of the key features of the Council and the character of prospective councilors is revealing. Occurring near the close of the dialogue. however. This evidently includes an understanding of the soul. there is one of the clearest examples of this definition in a passage at 963a. that institution places the truth of Kleinias’ assertion in its proper context. Indeed. It is curious. If the persuasive dimension of legislation is precisely analogous to the discourse of the better physician with a patient who is capable of understanding. Having taken the lead in the conversation from the Athenian. rather than the Athenian. In order to attain this state we learn at 965b that the program of education for the councilors must be much more rigorous and exacting than that for ordinary citizens. is that this definition occurs within a passage that introduces the ‘Nocturnal Council’ as the guarantor and salvation of the political community. at 966c we learn that the Athenian is content to allow the majority of citizens merely to observe the letter of the law. an interesting exchange takes place between the Athenian (who remains a “stranger”) and Kleinias the Cretan.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 151 Book XII We find in Book XII a similar situation to that in Book IV. It is doubtful therefore that those who lack the sort of education that the councilors will receive will be able to attain the appropriate state of soul required for genuine human excellence.

The discussion of legislation in the Laws expresses more confidence in the law’s ability to habituate citizens to virtue because of Plato’s more straightforwardly prescriptive and less philosophical expectations for a large part of its audience. . A Platonic dialogue must speak simultaneously to different persons with different voices. it cannot be prescribed in advance. because it is an argument made primarily by a group of strangers who mirror the characteristics of Plato’s intended audience. What are we to make of these developments? A reasonable conjecture is that Plato is writing for a certain audience and that he adapts his presentation of the role and purpose of law accordingly. The Council literally transcends the law. The ‘Nocturnal Council’ is treated at the end without great detail because of what the strangers in the conversation are able to hear. the apparently exhaustive and detailed account of the moral and intellectual life of the Magnesian political community has just been turned upside down by the effort to create an institution of the Platonic philosophical life. that is because the fictional audience and dramatic setting involves a dialogue between Socrates and a group of young men in which Socrates is engaged in his typical project of trying to initiate his interlocutors into the philosophical life. or because it serves as a model for conversation with those non-philosophical types whom the attentive reader of Plato will be dealing. COLVERT provides in the political community and cannot be inculcated in the ordinary citizen. terminological considerations alone neither confirm nor deny the conclusion that Plato’s view of law changes in the dialogues over time. Furthermore. Plato concludes at 966d that a prospective councilor must be “divine himself” or have studied divine things carefully. Plato displays less confidence in the ability of law to accomplish its end in the Republic. In short. The Laws places less stress upon a program of philosophic education for the councilors and expresses less ambivalence about the possibility of participating in public life. unlike interlocutors such as Thrasymachus who have already been excluded from the conversation. The characters who participate in the latter stages of the conversation aim to cultivate the friendship appropriate to philosophical dialogue. while the program of education undertaken by the councilors can be described. Perhaps the most significant single point to be observed about the legislation of the ‘Nocturnal Council’ is that it is impossible to legislate its authority and purpose before it has been constituted. Thus. With the very same definition of the end of law as we find in the Laws. In the case of the Republic.152 GAVIN T.

although that kind of human excellence requires something other than law for its achievement.COMMENTARY ON PRADEAU 153 We need not draw the conclusion from these considerations that Plato has a deep mistrust of the role of law in the political community or that he is speaking in a strictly esoteric fashion in the Laws. the different uses of the term in the Republic. it is reasonable to conclude that he thinks the laws must aim at a good or purpose that they cannot produce entirely in virtue of themselves. Furthermore. and Laws reveal deep ambivalence about the ability of law to found and produce full virtue in a political community without the deeper and more elusive contributions of the philosophic life. But. They are not merely a second-best solution. ASSUMPTION COLLEGE . They create the conditions in which excellence can flourish. but the context of his imaginary and intended audiences changes the use to which the term is put. Law is therefore a foundation for virtue in the political community. Statesman. Pradeau presents a strong case for the claim that key characters in the later Platonic dialogues employ the term consistently throughout.

2000. and J.-M. L. Gastaldi. Crook (tr. Maffi. Thomas L. Yunis. de Romilly. 1999. 2000. Cartledge. 1984. E. Lisi. Chicago. Ithaca. Todd (eds. A.” Lectures de Platon: 235-262. C. L.” Nomos: Essays in Athenian Law. “La cohérence du code de Gortyne. C. . J. and Ideology. Millet. F. 2003. A. Texte établi et annoté par Jacques Chevalier. 1999. 1993. I proemi delle Legge di Platone. Pascal. A. P. C. Paris. Todd. “Legge e retorica. Oxford. Millet and S. The Shape of Athenian Law. “Studi recenti sul codice di Gortina. Leo. M. 1962.” Revue philosophique 1: 57-82. 2000. De l’écriture à l’oralité: Lectures des Lois de Platon. La loi dans la pensée grecque. J. H.” Quaderni di Storia 10. A. P. Society and Athens. Strauss. Lévy. “Le prooímion est-il un proème?” Le texte et ses representations: 13-27. Costantini.” Dike 6: 161-225. A. 20: 84-86. H. The Argument and the Action of Plato’s Laws. 1988. J. Blaise.). The Laws of Plato. 1990. and S.). Paris. S. Hansen. 1971. The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure. Paris. “Les fondements métaphysiques du nomos dans les Lois. 1987. 1975. S. Cambridge. Principles. P. “Law. Brisson.PRADEAU/COLVERT BIBLIOGRAPHY Bertrand. Politics and Society. M. Chicago. Todd. Blackwell. “Les préambules dans les Lois. Pensées. 1996. Pangle.” La codification des lois dans l’antiquité: 185-214. Lallot. Taming Democracy.

2-3: II. as it were. I. Confucius allegedly replied that he would fix the meaning of words. .COLLOQUIUM 5 ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR FRAN O’ROURKE Asked what his first decree would be.” 2 “Metaphor” means literally “transfer” or “transport. 2. which is surely one of the most marvellous feats of language. 4 These are both strongly physical and visible uses of the term. It is easy to appreciate the good intentions of the eastern sage. 1 This expresses a central truth about the nature of language. The first. each word atomically attached to a single object. compared to the dearth of literary devices available to prose writers: “The poets are granted many methods of adorning their language. this occurs most commonly as metaphor. “metaphorical” use of the word—as a noun—is found in the orator Isocrates. metaphor is richly revealing of the relationship between knowledge and reality. were he to become emperor. 1931. however. since language does not lend itself to such Procrustean fixity. Bereft of metaphor. p. not. Aristotle may have had something similar in mind when he stated that a word which does not have a single meaning has no meaning. for besides _________ 1 2 3 4 Metaph. 1006b8: J. 4. the full truth. thought and reality. Indispensable to our way of understanding and articulating the world. who relates that the Athenian tyrant Pisistratus “removed all the dead that were buried within sight of the temple and carried them to another part of Delos. It deeply penetrates our way of perceiving and expressing the world. 64. 4. . John Middleton Murry did not exaggerate when he remarked: “To attempt a fundamental examination of metaphor would be nothing less than an investigation of the genesis of thought itself.” 3 He also uses the word to describe the use of levers for the lifting of stone in the construction of pyramids. . M.” The word is used as such by Herodotus. 125. Murry. Only a tyrannical philosopher king could legislate as suggested by the anecdote concerning Confucius. who describes the wealth of stylistic means enjoyed by poets. Perhaps the clearest challenge to such a decree is analogy. everyday language would remain flat and univocal. Aristotle recognised this better than most. .

Analogy is of the essence of metaphor.” meaning to “translate” from one language into another. 9 Poet.” 5 Metaphor was primarily understood by Isocrates. especially his metaphysics. much discussion of metaphor as a linguistic or literary device has unfortunately neglected this. While he was himself a master of metaphor. This may occur. and metaphors while prose writers are allowed none of these last three. and as an index of man’s psychosomatic unity. 5 6 . epistemology and psychology. An excellent account of Plato’s use of metaphor may be found in E. 1936. however. The key to Aristotle’s approach is his understanding of metaphor as analogy.156 FRAN O’ROURKE the use of normal words they can also employ foreign words. as a means of poetic adornment.. 1984. Translation W. Umberto Eco has suggested that “of the thousands and thousands of pages written about the metaphor. and on the diversity and interconnection of beings within the cosmos. 3. It relies on the diversity and unity both of human knowledge and human nature. p. but must severely restrict themselves to such terms alone as citizens use and such arguments as are precisely relevant to the subject matter. may not be reduced to any one in particular. few add anything of substance to the first two or three fundamental concepts stated by Aristotle”. many interpretations will find support in his stated views. 7 such a claim may seem exaggerated in view of the voluminous literature that has since appeared. 2002. 1984. 21. Swiggers. i. Pender. Stanford. Aristotle famously defines metaphor in the Poetics 9 as the transfer to one thing of a term belonging properly to another. therefore. In the following reflections I wish to consider some of the presuppositions of Aristotle’s theory of metaphor. p. p.” meaning to “transfer” an object from one such. neologisms. in one of four ways: from genus to species. his perspective. 88. pp. 3-4. Eco.e. 8 P. Plato does not name it as . Another author refers to “the Stagirite’s astonishingly modern description of metaphorical processes. See Stanford. and relate them to other aspects of his philosophy. 7 U. from species to genus. B. 1457b7. he explains. especially in recent decades. from species _________ Evagoras 190 D. 6 He uses “ place to another.” 8 While Aristotle could not have anticipated the variety of theories now current. Interestingly he employs the expression “ . 40. My focus is metaphor as a token for the analogous unity pervading the diversity of the world. Aristotle was the first to offer a systematic study of the essential nature and structure of metaphor. E. an alien or strange name ( ).

for one may then put the fourth in place of the second. according to analogy or proportion ( ). where it is defined as “an equality of ratios. or placing something upon something else—for Thucydides meant an additional payment. so is the drinking bowl to Dionysus. Thus the cup is. For a definition of proportion we may consult the Nicomachean Ethics. 11 While metaphor traditionally refers only to the fourth type—proportional metaphor—the first three also illustrate different levels of unity and diversity. as the fourth to the third. 1410b36-1411a1: . It reveals rather a hermeneutic circle in which we find ourselves firmly centered and which allows us to extend the horizon of our world. 1997. since we spontaneously affirm the existence of diverse beings.” 13 In the Poetics Aristotle prescribes the following formula: “Proportional metaphor is possible whenever there are four terms so related that the second is to the first. III 10. . Since we are also able to distinguish between the proper ( ) and transferred meaning of our conceptual terms. p.” 14 He illustrates this by the poetic parallel between Ares’ shield and Dionysus’ cup: as the shield is to Ares. 10 expressing thereby a similarity of relations. 21. 1457b16-19: . conveys the notion of adding to. 11 Rhet. implying at least four terms. recognise simultaneously their similarities. 12 Is there a tautology here? Is Aristotle’s definition circular? Perhaps. We are on sure ground.” and the shield _________ 10 Poet. 532. the best Aristotle can do is coin a variant ( ). Aristotle’s definition of metaphor proves. 21. however. if proof were needed. is valued most of all. and the second in place of the fourth. . Metaphor through proportional analogy. T. Kirby. Metaphor is the “imposition” upon the object of a name belonging to another. 1457b9. 12 See J. These forms of so-called metaphor function. simply by changing the prefix. and deny their identity. as it were. finally and most significantly. “Dionysus’ shield. 13EN V 3. slightly amended. . on the basis of a manifest similarity which is transferred univocally rather than by analogy. Aristotle’s definition merely articulates what we already experience.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 157 to species or. that there is nothing more elusive or difficult to define. The word “metaphor” is already metaphorical. he explains in the Rhetoric. Translation Bywater. 1131a31-32: 14 Poet. . but not viciously so.

. 1405a8-10: . 19 EN III 5. 18 Rhet.” 15 Again. much practise is needed.” 17 The key to proportional metaphor is the perception—perhaps imaginatively—of a novel resemblance between two pairs of coordinates not normally conjoined. Translation Bywater.) 19 Having enumerated all the means and literary devices which the poet has at his disposal. . . and it is also a sign of genius. Metaphor is essentially the recognition of likeness in unlike things.158 FRAN O’ROURKE “Ares’ cup. is also a gift of nature—“the greatest and most noble”— which likewise cannot be acquired or learnt from another. he states. . 1459a4-8. “Old age is to life as evening is to day. 1114b9-10: . But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor ( ). I 17.” 16 What is transferred in metaphor? A likeness of relationship between two or more unrelated pairs of individuals. III 2. 18 (It is interesting that in the Nicomachean Ethics he states that the moral vision whereby one discerns what is truly good. See Poet. which cannot be taught by another.” 20 With delightful irony George Eliot chides the philosopher: “O Aristotle! if you had had the advantage of being ‘the freshest modern’ instead of the greatest ancient. 21. 17 Rhet. 108a12-14: . The merit of metaphor is to recognise deep and hidden similarities: “just as in philosophy also an acute mind will perceive resemblances even in things far apart. (Top. as also of compounds and strange words. 21. 20 Poet. in other things. would you not have mingled your praise of metaphorical speech. 16 Poet. 1457b22-25. Aristotle declares in the Poetics: “It is a great thing. Translation Roberts. since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars ( ). Aristotle goes so far as to declare that the gift for metaphor—the perception of unlikely likeness—is a true sign of genius: it is the one thing.) 15 . with a lamentation that intelligence _________ Rhet. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others. to make a proper use of these poetical forms. Aristotle remarks elsewhere that in the case of things that greatly diverge. III 4. . 1412a9-12: . 1407a15-17: . indeed.” Thus old age is called the “evening of life” or “sunset of life. III 11. 1457b 20-22. as a sign of high intelligence. . 22. similarities are more easily seen.

or covered archway. p. words ( ). 1964. as already noted.. and its use. Standing on any busy street in Athens. everybody uses metaphor in normal conversation ( ).. in order to understand how “primitive man” interprets the world. . To illustrate I will refer to a common scene in the modern Greek capital.” 23 While this is certainly exaggerated. not a dialup delivery service for poets with writer’s block but more prosaically a removals company vehicle. the word “metaphor” means literally “transport. regular. the mastery of metaphor is a sign of true genius. The spontaneous and unreflective use of metaphor has been seen as indicating something elemental in human knowledge. you would not have to wait long to see a truck drive by with the word “metaphors” ( ) painted on its side. of course. 48. except by saying it is something else?” 21 It is indeed true that intelligence “rarely shows itself in speech without metaphor”. in the center of the city. I wish to distinguish between those metaphors with limited cultural value and those which are universal in scope and which.” There is an entire stoa. he speaks in verse: before using technical terms. indicate something essential in human nature. 1980.” others offer “international metaphors” ( ). it is doubtless true that everyday language is suffused with metaphor. “national metaphors. III 2.e. Rhet. p. There is no contradiction in Aristotle’s statement that while everybody uses metaphor. we need simply examine his metaphors. even children and fools use metaphor! Metaphor manifests itself at diverse levels of intelligence. and the metaphorical use of words is as natural to him as that which we call ‘natural’. This is. Cicero later distinguished between the creation or invention of metaphor. G. he apprehends with faculties confused and disturbed: before he can articulate. _________ 21 22 Eliot. 1404b34-35: . he sings: before speaking in prose. 123. Benedetto Croce sums up Vico’s view: “Poetry … is the primary activity of the human mind. before he has arrived at the stage of forming universals. According to Giambattista Vico. i.” It is interesting that while some advertise . forms imaginary ideas. 22 This is evidence of a natural and universal inclination towards metaphor. Aristotle remarks in the Rhetoric that alongside ordinary. occupied by companies specializing in “metaphors. Man. I suggest. he uses metaphors. Before he reflects with a clear mind.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 159 so rarely shows itself in speech without metaphor—that we can so seldom declare what a thing is. 23 Croce.

Speaking of ethnic or national metaphors. a host of metaphoric meanings which transcend regional boundaries. but essential aspects of human nature and man’s fundamental relationship with the world. I have counted no less that sixty expressions originating in sailor’s language which are part and parcel of English. I will give just two examples. likewise understand intellectual knowledge as a “seizing” or “grasping. above and beyond the diversity of individual languages. (The Greeks even have a government minister for metaphors! The Athens telephone directory has ten pages advertising topical metaphors. inconceivable in the language of a landlocked nation. They are truly international or universal metaphors. The frequency of nautical and maritime terms reflects the importance of the sea in English history. the sensible and intellectual. “seize” or “lay hold of”. Aristotle remarks: “The beauty of the body is seen. There are thus what we may loosely call cultural metaphors. These indicate. The transfer of physical terms to intellectual activities makes perfect sense in light of Aristotle’s insistence that all concepts are founded upon sense experience. However we may also note. seizing and gripping. general metaphors. its synonym comprehendere. you can even chose between esoteric and exoteric metaphors. the Greek and German begreifen. particular to a people or nation. taken from the vocabulary used to describe knowledge. not particular cultural. the Greek word likewise derives from . geographic or historical characteristics. Consider the countless maritime metaphors in English. Other languages have copious terms drawn perhaps from military or agricultural life. air and sea metaphors. frozen metaphors. to “take”. deriving from capere.” The psychic activity of knowing is conveyed with terms drawn from the physical activity of taking hold of.160 FRAN O’ROURKE yet more promote . the external and internal.) The basic division which I wish to mention is that between “ethnic” and “international” or “general” metaphors. Predominant among such universal metaphors which may be observed across cultural divisions are those intended to explain mental activity by means of terms drawn from the physical world. Because of his composite nature man needs metaphor to bind the physical and the psychic. also “to take. Firstly perception: English and all the Romance languages adopt the Latin word perceptio.” Similarly the language of conceptual comprehension: the Latin concipere. . we can agree with Vico that we can learn much about the mentality and tradition of a people from the metaphors embedded in its language.

27 Among the natural processes which provide rich metaphoric _________ Pol. cross our mind and enlighten us. 29-31. they trickle down and perhaps inundate us. take it to heart and dwell on it. so that it can turn from the domain where it initially belongs and for which it is properly fitted. Hence either they have invented new and unfamiliar expressions or they have used established ones in extended senses in order to indicate the things they have discovered . have an upside or a downside. An idea can be bright. we may put it on the table or into someone’s head. philosophers are interpreters of things that are unknown to most people and need new words to communicate the things they have discovered. be up to scratch. pursue it. Man needs to figure his speech. 25 Simplicius likewise recognizes the clear fittingness for Aristotle of the transition by analogy from sensible to intelligible things ( ). pp. dull or dumb. Ideas dawn upon us. We put a spin or a slant 24 . . Porphyry begins his commentary on the Categories with the question why Aristotle chose as a title for his work a term which in ordinary language refers to the speech of the prosecution against the accused in the law courts. We can have sharp ideas—with a point. embrace it. We have no terms other than physical with which to denote non-physical. We can trace an idea. 1907. 25 Porphyry. . Translation Jowett. blunt and rigid. 26 Just as intellectual knowledge is rooted in the senses. p. I 5. he adopted the word. it is entirely natural for us to elaborate abstract concepts from our knowledge of concrete objects—natural because necessary. Aristotle continually created linguistic analogies by enlisting everyday concepts in the service of philosophy. towards the realms which surpass the physical. He explains that while ordinary language communicates everyday things. 1992. 27 We chew on ideas. immaterial or psychic activities. Consider what we do with ideas and what they do to us. get our head around it.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 161 whereas the beauty of the soul is not seen. 26 Simplicius.” 24 In keeping with the Aristotelian concept of man. 1254b38-39: . put them in our pipe and smoke them. unless they are dull. and chose to call those utterances in which significant expressions are applied to things ‘predications’ ( ). . So even though is applied in ordinary usage to the speech of the prosecution which presents evidence against a defendant. The reason we transfer to mental acts the names of physical activity is because of the analogous similarity perceived between the two. swallow and digest them. so too are those various terms we use to describe cognition itself. 74.

” 29 EN X 7. if it is explosive it will break new ground. We can run it up the flagpole. we channel. push it too far. it can hit us like a ton of bricks. “The whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind. we put it on ice or on the back burner. We toy with the grain of an idea. An idea may be threadbare or redundant. p. pull it asunder. or throw cold water on it. and delights in startling us with resemblances in the most unexpected quarters. pin them down. Ideas emerge or spring to mind. get to the kernel. it can measure up and outweigh the opposition. 130: “Nature is full of a sublime family likeness throughout her works. 1950. Consider the language of violence attached to ideas: an idea can grab. which we ram down someone’s throat. nutrition. if it has a silver lining we may cash it in—unless it has become bankrupt. it may take off. 18. put a damper. An idea can be a red herring. or coming down the track. i. See p. but occasionally it comes home to roost. Metaphor effects between disparate domains a unity which mirrors the relation of body and mind. we focus on an idea. can only be explained by recognising a unitary subject of cognition. If an idea adds up. . An adequate explanation of metaphoric signification must account for the unity which necessarily underlies the duality of the domains from which this wide array of expression is drawn. strike and stun us.” As already stated. X 8. toss it about. ditch them. p. Aristotle’s doctrine of the distinction of body and soul. whose mode of knowledge equally involves physical and mental operations. we hit on an idea. We convey ideas. we can be flooded by a spate of ideas. metaphor is the transfer of a name from one object to another on the basis of analogical similarity. 1178a20. come to grips with it.e. It may be a milestone. In the words of Emerson. of likeness through _________ on an idea. 15: “Man is an analogist. they percolate and trickle down. man is a “ . pick it up and run with it.162 FRAN O’ROURKE motifs for mental or spiritual realities and activities are those of physical force. The world of the psyche mirrors the realm of nature. or sink like a lead balloon. perhaps even pioneering. hammer away at it and drive it home. Aristotle refers repeatedly to man’s composite nature. expressing a mental function by analogy with its physical parallel. and studies relations in all objects”. fish and trawl for ideas. grapple with it. but may find it hard to crack. An idea sometimes takes on legs and does the rounds. An idea may be in the pipeline. we can break it down. drop and dump them. We struggle with ideas. We can map it out. reproduction and birth. we can be floored or flattened by an idea. The unitive power of metaphor. get a handle on it. grasp it. We can seize upon an idea. iron it out. yet their complementarity and unity. bounce them off one other and take them apart—it sounds just like wrestling! 28 Emerson.” 28 The language of mind is largely metaphorical and refers to phenomena of the body.” 29 Metaphor is likewise a “ . It can be pregnant and bear fruit—prematurely if it’s before its time. We warm to an idea. or have it up our sleeve. jump at it. growth. an idea might make a splash or cause a ripple. knock them on the head. 1177 b28-29. throw them out the window. underline it. light. hold it.. float and filter. provides precisely such an adequate foundation.

for such things as fall under the same species are said to be specifically the same. particularly his metaphysics and biology.. I 7. It is the agreement of correspondent relations which are diversely realized in different domains.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 163 “equality of ratios” ( . ). 35 but of a likeness transcending all three. The aspect of analogy which I wish to emphasise is its power of universal reference and comprehensiveness. so is stillness in the air. ‘sameness’ would seem to fall into three divisions. and the use made of it throughout his system. p. it will be helpful to review the broader meaning of analogy for Aristotle. 34 Top. MacIntyre.. Top. There is specific sameness when there are several things but they do not differ in species. 30 31 32 33 . M. ). There is numerical sameness when there is more than one name for the same thing. ‘mantle’ and ‘cloak’. specific and generic sameness. In Topics I vii Aristotle distinguishes between three senses of sameness ( ): numerical. 45. Heidegger. one man and another man. horse and man.. Aristotle uses it extensively in his overall synthesis of knowledge. one horse and another horse. for we usually speak of numerical.g. e. 1131 a31-32. and as a calm is in the sea.g. but to the resemblance of relations within and among a diversity of beings. 348. And as one thing is in another. Similarly things are generically the same when they fall under the same genus. it thus provides the widest possible framework for universal unity among diverse substances. e. e. 21. so a third is in something else. It is wider than genus: _________ EN V 3.” Translation Forster. A. I 17. For example. specific and generic. as sight is in the eye so the mind is in the soul ( . so is sensation to the sensible thing ( . ). 30 Analogy is a similarity of relationship.g. as knowledge is to the knowable. species or genus. Analogy refers not to any or every aspect of unity. as both Alasdair MacIntyre 31 and Martin Heidegger 32 term it. a correspondence of proportion—or.” Before considering the kind of analogy which constitutes metaphor.” 34 The unity of analogy is clearly not the unity of the individual. 1457b. so a third is to something else. 33 Ten chapters on—without naming it as analogy—he speaks of the likeness ( ) which belongs to different genera: “As one thing is to another. 35 The relationship between these is the basis for the first three kinds of metaphor noted by Aristotle at Poet. a “relation of relations. 103a7-14: “In general. it is this which ultimately allows metaphors of proportion to be predicated across the most widely diverse contexts. 108a8-12. 1976. 1949. p. For example.

In Metaphysics Aristotle defines both sameness and likeness as forms of unity: Some things are one numerically. 38 Metaph. 1017a2-3: . and Chapter 10 (“The Metaphors of Metaphora”) of this excellent work. species and genus. Analogy. Translation Ross. what is claimed is that the relationship within each pair is the same.164 FRAN O’ROURKE “things that are one by analogy are not all one in genus. I have benefited greatly from Chapter 7 (“The Unity of Analogy”). 1016b31-35. put simply: birds have wings. fish have fins. some by analogy. and scale to feather. spine and bone are all analogues of animal bone. 6. 39 PA I 4. “pounce” (the internal shell of the cuttlefish).” 37 Analogy offers the widest possible ground for unity. for what the feather is in a bird. Lloyd. 40 HA I 1. 36 37 . overarching that of genus. 41 APo. as. sameness in species and sameness in genus. . for instance. 138. 140. according to Aristotle. which in turn embraces the more limited unity of species and individual. Translation Lloyd. R. 486b17-22. In his zoological investigations Aristotle uses analogy to introduce order among disparate species on the basis of similarity of function or operation. it runs through all three because it surpasses them.” 36 In accordance with the root meaning of .” 40 Each member of these distinct pairs performs a similar function within their respective natures. Those things are numerically one of which the matter is one: those things are specifically one of which the definition is one: those things are generically one which belong to the same category. but they are the same only in the way of analogy ( ). 1966. it is the similarity of an intrinsic proportion which is repeated and realized across an endless number of disparate relationships. those things are analogically one that have the same relationship as two other things have to one another. G. p. hand to claw. Translation Thompson. for example. II 14. E. sameness by analogy. some in genus. 6. Geoffrey Lloyd explains: “In such four-term proportional analogies. precisely. 41 _________ Metaph. p. Analogy links different categories because it transcends them. also facilitates the work of taxonomy. a sameness distinct from sameness in number. the scale is in a fish. nail to hoof. and labelled. 1966. and may thus be classified together. some in species. 39 “There are some animals whose parts are neither identical in form nor differing in the way of excess or defect. 98a20-23. 38 The unity of analogy transcends the unity of the individual. 644a21-22.

45 Metaph. while the final cause attracts the efficient cause. The distinction is disclosed inductively. “only in an analogical sense.” 45 In Metaphysics he states: “In one sense. 1048a35-b9.” 46 The principles of corruptible bodies are form. 44 He declares however: “There is analogy between all the categories of being ( ). I 18. 645a36-645b13. They are common. It is the difference between that which builds and that which is capable of building. Aristotle therefore proposes to investigate all animals. To treat all common attributes separately would involve endless and needless reiteration. 46 Metaph.” since each is valid only insofar as it falls within the genus of the particular science. the causes and principles of distinct things are distinct. 6. 108b13: . the finished product compared to the raw material. he states. 4. but each acts in a mode proper to itself: cause is analogical. PA II 2.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 165 Aristotle intentionally exploits analogy as a method of scientific order. Going beyond species and genus he seeks those features and principles common to all beings precisely as beings. 1070a31-33.42 It is. principally that of function. whereas to study the operation of a function in one animal will cast light upon a corresponding function in another. Translation Apostle. but relate similarly to one another precisely as principles in every unique instance. if one is to speak universally and analogically. 44 APo. . There are four distinct causes. 47 Metaph. form determines the matter. they are the same for all. 43 Top. 47 The relation of act and potency is verified _________ PA I 5. 647b14-15. however. PA II 7. but in another sense. and grasped analogically by way of example. The efficient cause produces the effect. PA II 2. 1093b18-19. 42 . Translation Pickard-Cambridge. 652a3. Matter causes the effect by supporting or sustaining form. PA II 6. Translation Tredennick. I 10.” 43 Most far reaching is Aristotle’s use of analogy in metaphysics. that which sees and that which has its eyes shut but has the power to see. privation and matter. insofar as possible. 6. Some first principles are common to particular sciences. “a reputable opinion ( ) that among similars what is true of one is true also of the rest. They are fulfilled differently in each case. Analogy operates most clearly in Aristotle’s elucidation of the distinction between act and potency. 652b24-25. 648a4-5. . 76a37-40. according to their similarities.

p. pp. .-D.” 51 Analogy is intrinsic to our human mode of cognition. . Marie-Dominique Philippe suggests that Aristotle’s use of analogy “best characterizes his philosophical approach. For all are ordered together to one end. 51 de Vio. but they are connected. 9. is important for Aristotle in all areas of reality and human activity. 1952. . The demands of justice must take into account the circumstances of the individual situa- _________ Analogy makes the knowledge of prime matter possible (Phys. discovery and creativity. into another. Translation Ross. 3: “Est siquidem eius notitia necessaria adeo. 191a8: ) 49 Metaph. Cardinal Cajetan. Philippe. . 50 Metaph. 10. like a badly constructed tragedy. or region of experience. p. moreover. ut sine illa non possit metaphysicam quispiam discere. a “series of episodes. all conspire to shape Aristotle’s vision of a unified cosmos.” 49 The perception of the world as an interrelated wickerwork of substances and causes gives foundation to the conviction that the cosmos is essentially and integrally united. 52 M. Justice is defined as proportion.” Translation Bushinski. The analogous principles of act and potency. Aristotle clearly grasped the importance of his own insight that the causes of all things are the same analogically.166 FRAN O’ROURKE analogically in the duality of prime matter and substantial form.” 50 Aristotle would doubtless agree with Thomas de Vio. 1969. but not all alike. form and privation. art. . 1090b19-20: . processus metaphysicales absque arte dicuntur. It is not. 48 and in the distinction of substance and accident. who wrote in his highly influential work De Nominum Analogia (1498): “An understanding of this doctrine is so necessary that without it no one can study metaphysics.” 52 Proportionality. Metaphysical speculation without knowledge of [proportional] analogy must be said to be unskilled. 29. and ignorance of it gives rise to many errors in other sciences .” See p. the reciprocal and dynamic relationship of causes. Nature is inherently coherent. as he expresses it. “All things are ordered together somehow. as it engages in the twin approaches of analysis and synthesis. Analogy is the key—a veritable passe-partout—which unlocks the structure of thought in its dual attitude to the unity and multiplicity of the world.—both fishes and fowls and plants. 1075a16-19. matter. I 7. and the world is not such that one thing has nothing to do with another. 3. 1 48 . et multi in aliis scientiis ex eius ignorantia errores procedant. it is a mental crossing of the barriers from one science. 29: “Unde sine huius analogiae notitia.

for Aristotle the metaphysical principles of being are perfectly realized in every individual. what is affirmed _________ 53 54 55 56 EN VI 10. instead of being imposed in unbending fashion as an iron rule. 1387a27-1387b2. love should be proportional. Firstly. transfer of a perfection or activity from its primary to a secondary subject. See EN VIII 7.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 167 tion. I 4. Secondly. 1137b30-32. 55 In friendship among unequals. 53 Political life demands equitable harmony. They are properly and intrinsically affirmed in the case of every particular entity in all its uniqueness. 1158b23-28. it must adapt itself with equity to the situation. analogical.1360a Rhet. Metaphysical principles are affirmed proportionately of every entity by proper analogy.e. operations and actions are also predicated properly and analogically of substances belonging to different genera. . analogously balanced by different levels of dedication and response. and here is the point. Rhet. this is also to clarify the distinction implied by Aristotle’s definition of metaphor between the proper meaning of a word ( ) and its metaphorical or non-proper meaning. because of a real similarity in the corresponding roles which they perform in accordance with their own nature: the bird flies. in Rhetoric I he draws a parallel between the balance required between leniency and severity in a democracy. 54 There should be a certain proportion and fittingness between one’s position in life and the possession of goods. 56 Now it is this fundamental ontological. II 9. rather than proper and improper analogy). This is found in Aquinas. but imperfect. and the mean between aquiline and snub in a handsome nose. Aristotle aptly conveys this with the image of the leaden rule used by the builders of Mytilene to harmonize the uneven edges of the building stones. whereas metaphor is the proportional. In metaphor. We need however to distinguish between metaphor and analogy in its proper sense. let us examine the various ways in which beings resemble one another analogically. however. In order to distinguish between simple analogy and metaphor (what we might call intrinsic and incidental analogy. relatedness among beings which provides the profound basis for metaphor. and canonised in Cajetan’s influential work On the Analogy of Names.. similar functions. i. the fish swims— both move. Aristotle’s definition of metaphor as the transfer of a name from its proper to an alien context is echoed in the medieval characterization of metaphor as “improper” analogy.

This similarity is frequently glimpsed only through the creative imagination. but will lack vitality unless it conveys the notion of activity ( ). Aristotle hints at this.” such as “the shameless stone” or “the eager spearpoint.” i. but imperfect. nor its beastly rapacious activity as such. In metaphor. Secondly.” A metaphor may be nominally complete. III 11.168 FRAN O’ROURKE is not a proper analogy but an imperfectly analogous resemblance: the quality. as Aristotle makes clear in De Anima III 2.. Translation Freese.” He explains: “Homer has attached these attributes by the employment of the proportional metaphor ( ). but does not make it explicit. Rhet. and is transferred to another because of some perceived but imperfect likeness.e.” the poet is not attributing to the hero either the nature of a lion. but through a relation of proportional similarity in some secondary or accidental respect. but rather a certain secondary likeness. 1411b21-11. III 10. There are here two significant aspects worthy of note. his poetry is thus distinguished through the effect of activity ( ). action is the most appropriate similitude to be expressed through metaphor. . since the objects are represented as animate. hence an image or metaphor is all the more potent when it conveys an action ( ). The only resemblance which _________ 57 58 See Rhet. he explains. In the assertion “Achilles is a lion. Sensation is itself an activity. At this point I wish to propose that it is action which constitutes the metaphysical foundation of metaphoric resemblance. 57 Aristotle cites a number of Homeric metaphors “in all of which there is appearance of actuality ( ).” 58 The expression to “place things before the eyes” is itself metaphorical for the sensible character of metaphor. In Rhetoric III he repeatedly notes that one of the primary virtues of analogous metaphor is to “place things before the eyes ( ). to bring them to life. Things are set before the eyes. so is the shameless one to the one who is shamelessly treated. by words which “represent them in a state of activity ( ). in line with Aristotle’s metaphysics of the categories. Metaphor is the proportional. for as the stone is to Sisyphus. perfection or action belongs perfectly and intrinsically only to one substance. 1412a4-6. not by virtue of what it is properly in itself. 1411b33. The substances of different genera cannot resemble one another in essence or nature. transfer of a perfection or activity from its primary to a secondary subject. a name which belongs intrinsically to one being is transferred to another. Through metaphor Homer frequently speaks of lifeless things as living ( ).

Insom. 459a15-16: . Beings of different genera resemble one another not in what they are (essence or nature) but in what they do—each in accordance with its own nature and identity. 139b34-35: . Allow me to mention a few metaphoric images which surprised me recently. De Iside et Osiride 358f-359a. 1370a28-29: Top. 117.” written for the 350th anniversary of Harvard. I heard someone speak of a “tsunami of information. Kenner. p. I 11. . I recalled vivid images of carbonised bodies among the ruins of Pompeii. but activity. metaphors should place an idea : before the eyes. “The faculty of imagination. The future was a verb in hibernation.” 64 This does not jeopardise its value but denotes its double character as clairobscur.” he states. no more than clichés. imagic character. 35. 60 Hearing a woman describe her reaction to the murder of her father.” 61 Most recently. p. and there is delight in both inventing and recognizing these.” 62 Image is defined in the Rhetoric as feeble sensation.” Aristotle’s point is well illustrated: the power of metaphoric expression comes from its sensible. C. as already noted. 1947. right on schedule and against my best hopes. projecting and diffusing its light. For Aristotle. prism-like. amended. while ob- _________ 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 H. Day Lewis. although itself opaque. they have become dead metaphors. I was struck by Hugh Kenner’s assertion that “Language is a Trojan horse by which the universe gets into the mind. Translation Beare. overcome with the black lava of grief and hate. and it is the unverifiable element in poetry which carries the conviction of truth. VI 2.” 59 and by Plutarch’s suggestion that myth is the rainbow which reflects the sun of truth. Happily we continue to create new metaphors. “Villanelle for an Anniversary. although most have lost their imagic character. 63 Aristotle declares that “metaphorical expressions are always obscure. The vast majority of everyday metaphors originate from sensible images.” 65 (It is a strange characteristic of mystery that. The similarity which metaphor conveys is not that of substance.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 169 may be affirmed between them is either the perfectly analogous similarity of their metaphysical principles or the imperfectly analogous resemblance of action. I was fascinated with Seamus Heaney’s description of the intellectual condition of Boston in the 17th century: “Nothing stirred. Rhet. and which confirmed the validity of Aristotle’s remark that the vitality of metaphor is to place something before the eyes. Cecil Day Lewis remarked: “There are such things as unverifiable truths. 1955. “is identical with that of sensation.

70 APo. Aristotle provides another reason for caution. equivocation ensues. Analogy is one of its most valuable tools. 991a20-22. it has frequently a remarkable capacity to illuminate other things. 69 Top. on the ironic assumption that he has used words in their proper sense. however. for a harmony consists always of sounds. 66 In the Meteorology he illustrates the opposing values which metaphor has for philosophy and poetry: “It is absurd to suppose that anything has been explained by calling the sea ‘the sweat of the earth’. Metaphor is for science a semantic hybrid it flourishes and blooms.” 67 Empedocles’ metaphor provides a graphic image. Dealing in the Topics with the tactics of argument. philosophy seeks clarity ( ). Translation Tredennick. 9. 123a33-37: “You must also see whether your opponent has assigned as a genus a term used metaphorically. speaking. clearly we must also avoid defining in metaphors and defining metaphorical terms. 139b35-36. By using metaphor the opponent may escape through sleight of argument. defective and wanting in definition. VI 2.” 70 One cannot reason syllogistically by metaphor. a duality of denotation which may give rise to ambiguity. of ‘temperance’ as a ‘harmony’. as does incongruity if we _________ Metaph. 97b37-39.) The distinction between the metaphorical and the proper ( ) use of words allows Aristotle to praise metaphor in poetry but scorn its use in philosophy. 68 Definition requires strict unity and coherence. 69 In rational discourse. while metaphor lives in the double entendre. Aristotle’s sharpest criticism of Platonic participation in the Metaphysics was to dismiss it as a poetic word or empty metaphor. Top. 357a 24-28.” Translation Forster. 66 67 68 . one should seek clarity of definition and eschew equivocation: “If we are to avoid arguing in metaphors. but is itself infertile. if one can turn his metaphoric meaning against him. Metaphors are poetical and so that expression of his may satisfy the requirements of a poem. Mete. as Empedocles does.170 FRAN O’ROURKE scure in itself. but ‘harmony’ is predicated of temperance not in its proper sense but metaphorically. but nothing of scientific value. however. but as to knowledge of nature it is unsatisfactory. II 3. One may refute such an opponent. otherwise we are bound to argue in metaphors. Translation Webster amended. from a scientific point of view metaphor is deviant. for every genus is predicated of its species in its proper sense. for example. IV 3. While obscurity ( ) has a place in poetry and metaphor lends an air of wondrous strangeness ( ). II 13.

” Poet.” 71 Metaphor no doubt embellishes but cannot be reduced to ornament. “Easy learning is naturally pleasant to all. the virtue of the word: “The materials of metaphor must be beautiful to the ear. Translation Roberts. Aristotle’s approach cannot be reduced to any in particular. As well as the transfer of a name from its proper setting to a strange or inhabitual context. emotion. Metaphor is equally effective. these are explicitly distinguished by Aristotle. with regard to such affective states as fear. 1404b10-11. 22. Aristotle recognises the importance of metaphor as adorning language. 1458a33. Of the elements which he associates with metaphor we may note primarily. These too can simultaneously evoke the marvel of knowledge. 73 Rhet. beyond the confines of his present _________ iambic verse. so that all words which make us learn something are most pleasant. to the understanding. which is the hallmark of wonder. It is essential to what he calls . listener or reader. that above all produces this effect. While various theories have emphasised one or other aspect of metaphor.” 75 Most discussion of metaphor considers it as an event occurring at the semantic level of the object. Metaphor is one of the most effective ways to “give everyday speech an unfamiliar air.72 With regard to emotion. 74 Rhet. Translation Fyfe. the states which Aristotle explicitly notes are wonder and the pleasure of knowledge. to the eye or some other physical sense. and cognition. Referring to . and words mean something. and proper terms we know already. Now we do not know the meaning of strange words. 72 Poet.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 171 confuse metaphor and literal description: “Socrates has a sharp mind and a snub nose!” Aristotle’s approach to metaphor is comprehensive and multifaceted. and ornament ( ). 1459a12-14. III 2.” 74 Metaphor is a continual reminder of the strangeness of things all around: the marvellous in the quotidian.” 73 “Things which are remote are wonderful and what is wonderful is pleasant. III 2. 75 Rhet. ornamentation. 71 Rhet. metaphor. however. however. which most resembles spoken language. horror or disgust. 1404b11-12: . he states: “Only those words are allowed which might be used in speech. . therefore. It is metaphor. 1410b10-13. III 2. These are the ordinary word. III 10. should not be overlooked. Translation Freese. The effect on the speaking or listening subject. metaphor transports the speaker. 22. it could be argued. Vital to metaphor is the contrast between the familiar and the strange. 21. amended. 1405b17-19. 1457b2.

80 Rhet. and the casting forth by the sun of its flame. It does not declare outright “this is that” _________ 76 N. for which there is no word. p. 1410b10. Malebranche. but I missed it. Clearly such metaphor does not give rise to obscurity: “A metaphor in a way adds to our knowledge of what is indicated on account of the similarity. 78 Rhet. His mind seems to say. Aristotle’s example is the poet’s analogy between the casting forth of seed-corn. but show perhaps that you are a stranger in your own country. for those who use metaphors always do so on account of some similarity” (Top. 81 Rhet. je ne vous conduirai point dans une terre étrangere: mais je vous apprendrai peut-être que vous êtes étranger vous-même dans vôtre propre païs. . his surprise is all the greater. 21. 1405a35-37: “In using metaphors to give names to nameless things. sowing. “How true. According to Aristotle metaphor introduces the element of strangeness ( ). 21. according to Aristotle. Metaphor discerns similitude. Simile does not captivate the listener’s attention so powerfully as metaphor.. It provides a cipher for the unknown.e. as in the case of Homer.” 79 Such discovery provides the pleasure of easy and rapid learning ( . so that the kinship is clearly perceived as soon as the words are said” (Translation Roberts). 30: “Non.. translation Forster). but beyond language it also serves to make things strange. thus offers new insight. III 10. 81 Here Aristotle sees the difference between metaphor and simile. This brings us to the cognitive function of metaphor—already implicit throughout the preceding discussion. analogy loses none of its expressive power. 78 Most witty sayings. . succeed in creating new learning and knowledge ( ). 140a8-11. 1457b25-30. establishes new resemblances. III 11. III 2. There ensues the surprise of recognition. 80 Successful metaphors. he has in mind the strangeness of expression. ).172 FRAN O’ROURKE experience to a new horizon. Malebranche’s invitation comes to mind: “I will not bring you into a strange land. 79 Rhet. III 10.. 1410b14. Aristotle remarks that even though there is sometimes no word for some of its terms. i. The miracle of metaphor is its power to evoke marvel and astonishment. discovers novel connections. it deepens our understanding of what we know. according to Aristotle. 1412a20-21: . are derived from metaphor and beguile the listener in advance: expecting something else. 77 Metaphor too can give names to nameless things.” 77 Poet. With its power of estrangement metaphor arrests our habitual relationship with the world. 1965.” 76 An effective metaphor can bring about a dramatic displacement in the Brechtian sense of Verfremdung. the joy of discovery. VI 2. we must draw them not from remote but from kindred and similar things.

Richards speaks of the tension between the two contexts which are juxtaposed in metaphor. there must be an element of opposition or antithesis. III 11. 39. in the one train of thought. III 10. A. These he denotes with the terms “tenor” and “vehicle. The virtue of metaphor is precisely to discover likeness in unlikeness. Rhet. 96. I. as if both their minds were travelling. the unstated nature of the similarity in metaphor forces the listener or reader to invent it for himself. 2001. E. metaphor gives us “two ideas for one. 89 What is either too obvious _________ Rhet. Richards and championed by Max Black. and generally with a perception of delight. 84 The impact of metaphor is to say that “this” is “that.” 85 (Ernan McMullin suggests the more obvious terms “target” and “illuminator”). p. 1934.” Boswell. The full phrase is worth citing: “And. as to metaphorical expression. and thus jolt the mind to examine the strange connection between the objects. namely its interactive character. 1981. moreover. 1412a10-12. 88 J. for it gives you two ideas in one. but emphasizes that the kinship should not be too obvious: otherwise there is no need for metaphor. Joyce. Aristotle notes that metaphors should be drawn between kindred objects. 174. 82 83 84 85 86 87 .— conveys the meaning more luminously. In its cognitive function. if they are good.” 87 (James Joyce in Ulysses offers what is itself an impressive metaphor to describe analogy: “Though they didn’t see eye to eye in everything. 1936. A. 1406b20: . 1410b15-21.”) 88 But as well as juxtaposition.” The mind is aroused by a Socratic sting that shocks the mind to new recognition. 89 Rhet. p. McMullin. 1410b19.ARISTOTLE AND THE METAPHYSICS OF METAPHOR 173 ( ). heralded by I. III 10. can also have the effect of brilliance. Rhet. it has thus an added element of surprise and discovery. we can discern in Aristotle an aspect of metaphor which has rightly been emphasized in recent decades. 536. is less pleasant because it is longer. In Dr Johnson’s celebrated phrase. when it is used with propriety. that is a great excellence in style. However. p. III 4. As Aristotle notes. Sir. metaphor is elegant and clever ( ) because it delivers rapid instruction. a certain analogy there somehow was. 86 Metaphor involves the conjugation of ideas or images from distinct domains of experience. p. 83 Similes. 82 The more cryptic quality of metaphor draws the listener to a closer examination of the similarity which he must discover for himself. so to speak. Richards. the difference between metaphor and simile is minimal. Simile.



or obscure conveys nothing new and is without interest, whereas a successful metaphor provides new learning and insight. 90 In metaphor the speaker assumes a certain conscious ambivalence. Metaphor asserts one thing, individual and unique, to be what it is not. The speaker is aware of this seeming contradiction, but is saved from absurdity by a concomitant awareness that it is not really asserted as such. There is a doublethink, a parallelism or duplicity of intention. When Homer refers to Achilles as a lion, he is not really asserting that he is a member of the species Panthera leo, but that in a certain aspect his actions resemble those of a lion. With poetic license metaphor implicitly exercises an existential with respect to the copula; it declares both that “it is” and “it is not,” perhaps more precisely: “it is this, but not really”; it affirms a substance, but intends an accident. It asserts identity, but includes otherness. Aristotle’s distinction between the normal and the strange use of a word is echoed by the interactive theory, which emphasises the tension between the two usages as a basic constituent of metaphor. To state that one thing is another offends the most basic principle of all discourse, the principle of non-contradiction. Of course Achilles is not a lion: should we not mean what we say? The tension of this doublethink forces the mind beyond itself. There is a fruitful tension at the heart of metaphor, which impels the mind to new discovery. Analogy is the intuitive leap by which mind connects the known with unknown experience. It is the spark that ignites the mind to light up similarities below the surface; it is a lamp borrowed from one domain to illumine the recesses of another. It brings objects from distinct arenas into a reflective relationship, that one may clarify the other. The mind shuttles between one and the other term, and back again, in a quick movement of thought which at once affirms identity and difference, thus extending our knowledge of the given. What are the metaphysical requirements of metaphor? What does the activity of metaphor reveal to us about man, in terms of Aristotle’s philosophy? Metaphor brings out in a unique manner the metaphysical nature of human knowledge. By metaphysical I simply mean the ability of human cognition to pass beyond the sense experience of an individual object to grasp it in its universal aspect, to view an individual—however insignificant—sub specie totalitatis. It brings an increase of metaphysical awareness, a heightened pitch of abstractive and intuitive activity: intuitive, because it grasps a concrete feature of the object, abstractive because it sets it in relation with a reality from a distinct, perhaps distant, domain. Meta-


Rhet. III 10, 1410b12-13.



phor is the embodiment in miniature of man’s metaphysical knowledge, and illustrates in a unique manner his ability to surpass the physical confines of immediate experience. He may thus view any object of experience, sensible or intellectual, within a wider context according to whatever similarity he perceives. He can associate one individual with any other, even a thing unknown. His arena of reflection is ultimately the unlimited horizon of the totality of being. Summarizing his treatise on psychology, Aristotle states that “the soul is in a sense all things.” 91 This is the openness requisite for the spontaneous play of metaphor; the subtle tendrils of mind and imagination recognize no obstacle in their glimpse of similarity in the most unlikely places. In agreement with Aristotle’s view of things, metaphor indicates a duality in human nature between body and psyche, sense and intellect; but the ability also to surpass this division. It reveals a more profound unity in human nature. Just as the diversity of sense perceptions is unified by the power of the common sense, 92 so also the acts of cognition which operate in tandem to produce metaphor demand a single subject who is aware of identity in difference. The dual optic must be brought into single focus. Only a common element can bind what is diverse. Moreover, the fact that in countless metaphors the physical and psychic mirror one another indicates the underlying unity of reality itself. Man’s citizenship of two worlds, material and mental, is already inscribed in the very nature of language: a material medium which carries a metaphysical meaning. Language encapsulates the human capacity and impulse for self-transcendence. Using sensible symbols man surpasses the confines of the material world. Frege has put it well: “Signs have the same importance for thought as the discovery of using the wind to sail against the wind has for seafaring.” 93 Words are somehow a summation of man’s sensible and intellectual unity. Language is laden both with the inner tension of sense and intellect and the further struggle to express, beyond cognition, a reality which in principle it can never fully disclose. In metaphor the human impulse for transcendence achieves one of its deepest, most metaphysical, moments. More than any other mental act, analogy, including metaphor, reveals the ability to rise beyond a single individual and establish its relationship with other beings.

An. III 8, 431b21: . An. III 2, 426b17-23. G. Frege, 1964, p. 107: “Die Zeichen sind für das Denken von derselben Bedeutung wie für die Schifffahrt die Erfindung, den Wind zu gebrauchen, um gegen den Wind zu segeln.”
91 92 93



The poet Cecil Day Lewis has expressed much of what I wish to convey—which I believe to be in harmony with the fundamentals of Aristotle: “Relationship being in the very nature of metaphor, if we believe that the universe is a body wherein all men and all things are ‘members one of another’, we must allow metaphor to give a ‘partial intuition of the whole world’. Every poetic image, by clearly revealing a tiny portion of this body, suggests its infinite extension … poetry’s truth comes from the perception of a unity underlying and relating all phenomena, … poetry’s task is the perpetual discovery, through its imaging, metaphor-making faculty, of new relationships within this pattern, and the rediscovery and renovation of old ones…. The poetic image is the human mind claiming kinship with everything that lives or has lived, and making good its claim.” 94 In keeping with its importance in the Poetics and Rhetoric, metaphor exhibits a pervasive power for creative insight; it lives in the tension between unity and diversity both in human nature and in the universe. It is moreover a token both for the simplicity of human nature which acts through a diversity of levels, and for the unity of reality throughout the multiplicity of beings. All of these elements are present though not explicit in Aristotle. They are, I suggest, the implicit background to his theory of metaphor. In the absence of genuine metaphysical analogy, which binds entities through a proper likeness and similitude, there would be no real foundation for transferred or metaphoric resemblance. One Shakespearean critic has expressed as follows the profound implications of metaphor: “I believe that analogy—likeness between dissimilar things, which is the fact underlying the possibility and reality of metaphor—holds within itself the very secret of the universe.” 95 This is close to the passages from the Metaphysics cited earlier to illustrate Aristotle’s vision of a unified cosmos. Metaphor is vital to daily language; it attains its fullest expression in poetic creation. Analogy, on the other hand, finds its fullest application in metaphysics. The poet suggests in metaphor what the philosopher asserts through analogy. Metaphor depends upon imagery; analogy operates by means of concepts. Each engages and activates in its own way the universal character of human intentionality: the unique relationship which human has towards the totality of being. Man’s nature is sensible and intellectual. His knowledge is a unity of both, beginning with and relying upon the senses. His ability to surpass the physical is attested to primarily by the intellectual power of abstraction, which is the pulse and drive of

94 95

C. Day Lewis, 1947, pp. 29, 34, 35. C. Spurgeon, 1936, p. 7.



philosophy, and heightened by the associative power of imagination, reaching its highest intensity in the act of creative metaphor. Metaphor always retains an element of paradox, whether viewed as ambiguity or surplus of meaning; it uniquely blends the luminous with the obscure. It cannot enter as such into syllogistic reasoning; it is not a tool of philosophy, but a profound phenomenon which summons philosophic reflection. The process of metaphor is highly revealing of human experience and expression. It discloses a relational similarity between diverse contexts: a resemblance the significance of which is not merely rhetorical or ornamental, but essentially metaphysical. The ultimate philosophical value of metaphor, therefore, from an Aristotelian perspective, is not its argumentative role but, I suggest, its power to disclose the relational solidarity of diverse substances; this in turn calls for philosophic explanation. Aristotle does not himself offer a comprehensive explanation in these terms, but provides the concepts and principles which are required. According to Henri Bergson, if we remove from Aristotle’s philosophy everything derived from poetry, religion and social life, as well as from a somewhat rudimentary physics and biology, we are left with the grand framework of a metaphysics which, he believes, is the natural metaphysics of the human intellect. 96 It seems to me that metaphor, which so profoundly characterizes our intellectual cognition, as it cooperates with sense and imagination, is best explained by such a natural metaphysics. 97

H. Bergson, 1928, p. 344. I wish to thank Gary Gurtler, S.J., John Manoussakis, and Michael Smith for their hospitality and kindness during my visit to Boston. I am indebted to Patrick Sammon, Gerard Casey, and Andrew Smith for many helpful suggestions. I am grateful to the anonymous referee for the Proceedings, and especially to my commentator Ioanna PatsiotiTsacpounidi.
96 97


It is a challenging task to work out the metaphysics of the Aristotelian concept of ‘metaphor,’ especially if we take into consideration Umberto Eco’s statement that little has been added to its understanding since its brief treatment by Aristotle. In fact, this task may prove to be even more difficult if we also consider the view of many people that the Aristotelian ‘metaphora’ is not exactly equivalent to what we mean by ‘metaphor’ today. 1 And yet Professor Fran O’Rourke seems to have accomplished this task to a fair extent, and has managed to exhibit the significance of ‘metaphor’ for human knowledge. My comments will be categorized under three main areas: (a) the philosophical significance of ‘metaphor,’ (b) ‘metaphor’ and analogy, and (c) man and ‘metaphor.’ I. The Philosophical Significance of ‘Metaphor’ To start with, Prof. O’Rourke is right when he says that the claim that metaphor is for Aristotle merely literary ornamentation is wrong. It is evident enough to any Aristotelian scholar that the Stagirite offers an interesting semiotic theory, which involves the interaction of cognitive and emotive contexts. From the definition of ‘metaphor’ in Aristotle’s Poetics, 1457b1ff, where we receive a detailed account of what a noun must be, with particular emphasis on the ways it can be used metaphorically, to the elaborate analysis of the types of ‘metaphors’ we encounter in the third book of his Rhetoric, with emphasis being put on its connection to analogy, we notice that Aristotle does not simply use this as a linguistic weapon in the hands of a persuasion-seeking rhetorician. If, as Prof. O’Rourke says, Aristotle uses ‘metaphor’ in order to bring about in a unique manner the metaphysical nature of human knowledge, that is, to show the ability of human cognition to pass beyond the sense experience of an individual object and to grasp it in its universal aspect, then he is trying to establish its philosophical significance and not to depreciate its value. It would not be correct either to take its definition in the Poetics,

Lloyd, G.E.R., Aristotelian Explorations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 205.



“onomatos allotriou epiphora”, as “Delphic and very general”, as Lloyd indicates, 2 since what Aristotle here means is the ‘transfer’ of a strange term and its application in a different context. Of course, Lloyd comes to acknowledge 3 that Aristotle offers later analyses of metaphor, simile and comparison. His point of departure is not the use of comparison as such but a basic contrast between terms used strictly (‘kyrios’) or appropriately (‘oikeios’) on the one hand, and terms not so used on the other. Lloyd also observes the negative attitude towards ‘metaphora’ in most books of Aristotle’s Organon, as its use would undermine the validity of any chain of reasoning. 4 For example, in the Topics, it is stated that every metaphorical expression in a definition is obscure (‘asaphes’). Nevertheless, in Rhetoric, 1405 a 8 ff., Aristotle says that the use of ‘metaphora’ produces clarity (‘to saphes’), pleasure (‘to hêdu’) and ‘a foreign element’ (‘to xenikon’), which would attribute to ‘metaphora’ a more philosophical character. And if the assumption is that in Rhetoric, 10, Aristotle praises ‘metaphora’ for its effectiveness in argumentation, and that’s as far as he can accommodate it, then we simply ignore the quality Aristotle wants to attribute to it, and even talk about an apparent contradiction in Aristotle’s treatises. The possible confusion or contradiction in Aristotle’s thought regarding the value he attributes to ‘metaphora’ is a point perhaps that Prof. O’Rourke could have seen more closely. Moreover, it would be very useful in his analysis if Prof. O’Rourke insisted more on the Aristotelian definition of ‘metaphor’ as stated above. To explain ‘metaphor,’ Aristotle creates a metaphor that he borrows from the domain of movement. The concept of ‘phora’ indicates the notion of movement or even change of movement with respect to location. As for ‘epiphora,’ it takes the meaning of ‘bringing to or upon,’ ‘carrying towards,’ as well as that of ‘conclusion, what is derived from.’ 5 In general, the preposition of ‘epi’ in Greek attaches a further emphasis on the word that takes it as its prefix. And most probably this is the case with ‘epiphora’ here. The word ‘allotrios’ means ‘alien, unusual.’ Thus, the whole meaning of this phrase would be that ‘an alien or unusual name is carried toward another location,’ that is, ‘metaphor’ is the transposition of an alien name to somewhere else, to another name with which one would be more familiar.

Ibid., p.206. Ibid., pp.206-207. Ibid., p.208. Liddell H.G., & Scott R., A Greek-English Lexicon, vol.1, (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press), 1925, p.671.
2 3 4 5

what we notice in a metaphor is also the idea of categorical transgression. 8 It is interesting to include here the three interpretative hypotheses. from species to species. there is an identification between the process that disturbs a certain logical order and that from which all classification proceeds. edited by Amelie Oksenberg Rorty. 331-2. Ricoeur considers the idea of deviation as having a rather negative sense as opposed to the idea of borrowing that implies a more positive view.180 IOANNA PATSIOTI-TSACPOUNIDI According to Paul Ricoeur. produces meaning. it carries no new information. Prof. In other words. in Essays on Aristotle’s Rhetoric. O’Rourke does indicate that ‘metaphora’ is the proportional but imperfect transfer of a perfection or activity from its primary to _________ 6 Ricoeur. and what Aristotle is trying to achieve here is to show that ‘metaphor’ cannot be merely a decorative tool but one of the main semantic means a person could use. 9 First. Second. (Berkeley: University of California Press. P. What follows. and the idea of substitution for an absent but available ordinary word. between proper and figurative speech. This point about the metaphysics of ‘metaphor’ as a linguistic tool might be examined more closely by Professor O’Rourke. the functioning of language operates within an already constituted order. that is. pp. 7 As for the idea of substitution. from species to genus. 1996) 324-384 (particular reference p. from the second to the fourth term of a proportional relationship). then we notice that even though ‘metaphor’ involves an apparent deviation from the existing logical order. 334-5. 8 Ibid. he indicates. And third. a kind of disordering in a scheme of classification.332). Of course. the idea of borrowing from an original domain. If we accept these three interpretations by Ricoeur.. since the absent term can be brought back in. Ricoeur proposes. in all metaphor one might consider not only the name that is displaced but the pair of terms between which the transposition operates (from genus to species. . is that there is no real opposition between ordinary and unusual or strange names. if the metaphorical term is really a substituted term. pp. and if there is no information conveyed. for Aristotle. 7 Ibid.. And this logical deviation. 9 Ibid. then metaphor has only a decorative value. 332-3. a deviation in relation to a preexisting logical order.. 6 the Aristotelian idea of ‘allotrios’ tends to assimilate three distinct ideas: the idea of deviation from ordinary usage.. “Between Rhetoric and Poetics”. pp. the whole process takes place within the system of language and this transposition from unusual to ordinary names can be achieved because of the coordination of relationships within language itself.

This by itself shows the twofold purpose that Aristotle wants to serve by means of ‘metaphora’ in the domain of action: (i) it is ‘asaphes. Thus. In fact. as it might have no impact on the hearer. As he rightly indicates. In ‘metaphor. and the power of the latter to achieve universal comprehension. A ‘metaphor’ should not be an unusual or unknown word.’ a name which belongs intrinsically to one being is transferred to another. namely a resemblance of action.’ since man uses it to understand better abstract objects and associate himself to the external reality. but through a relation of proportional similarity in some secondary or accidental sense. It is here in fact that one could attempt to provide a solution to the question as to whether Aristotle is ambivalent about the reliability of ‘metaphora. it affirms a substance.’ As Prof. but it is also ‘saphes. It refers to the unity of relations within and among a diversity of beings. O’Rourke manages to connect ‘metaphor’ with analogy in terms of the following ways: (i) There is emphasis on the aspects of analogy. analogy is the agreement of correspondent relations which are diversely realized in different domains. which are used as forms of unity. 10. O’Rourke added here the moderate character Aristotle attributes to it. 10 This would prove the philosophical significance Aristotle attributes to it more persuasively. and (ii) through its vividness it exemplifies the connection between theory and action. what is more important in Prof. such as sameness and likeness. Prof.COMMENTARY ON O’ROURKE 181 a secondary subject. if Prof. even though Aristotle would be more in line with his main philosophical position that due to its ambiguity ‘metaphora’ should be avoided either in demonstration or dialectic. 1410 b31 – 34. It would be relevant perhaps. metaphor affirms both that something is and it is not. as well as the use of analogy as _________ 10 Rhetoric. Thus it provides the widest framework for universal unity among diverse substances. as it would be difficult for someone to understand it.’ ‘xenikon’ and ‘hêdu’ insofar as it is used to enhance the persuasive techniques of the rhetorical argument. O’Rourke’s paper is the emphasis he puts on the connection between metaphor and analogy. not by virtue of what is intrinsically in itself. he seems to lean on ‘metaphora’ for making his points clearer in the domain of action. nor too common. ‘Metaphor’ and Analogy Nevertheless. O’Rourke rightly observes. but intends an accident. . II.

. and the other way round.182 IOANNA PATSIOTI-TSACPOUNIDI a method of scientific order. Jr. Nature. or the body of the patient he is set to treat. in which an analogy is used in order to introduce order among disparate species on the basis of similarity of function or operation. 12 It would also be relevant here if along with the examples of the ‘kat’analogian metaphora’ (analogical metaphor) we added some more that enhance the notions of likeness and sameness. Miller. in which Aristotle draws an analogy between an organism and its individual organs and a state and its individuals. which refer to Aristotle’s discussion of sameness with emphasis on his zoological treatises. in the sense that understanding of the inferior types of ‘philia’ contribute to the understanding of the primary one.D. According to Aristotle’s account. or the instrument used in a treatment.. 12 EN. if there was also further reference to his ethical treatises. 14 Given that all the other kinds of ‘philia’ are affirmed or denied in relation with the primary type (cf. 11 In the same analogous way. the body. we would have thought that it would be essential to the connection between ‘metaphor’ and analogy. 13 EE. in the same way that a patient’s past medical record and general physique determines the treatment prescribed by a doctor once a certain disease is diagnosed. in his Metaphysics 4. 14 It is also worth noting that the philosopher draws an analogical metaphor between the various types of ‘philia’ with the word ‘iatrikon’ (medical) that applies to the soul. (Oxford: Clarendon Press. H2. K14. where the use of analogy makes the universal comprehension it achieves even more evident. 1236a20-23. 1070b10-21. the various meanings of ‘philia’ relate to one another in that understanding of the fact that they are inferior types involves reference to the primary type. For example. or the medical instrument _________ 11 Cf. EE. 1180b7-8. Justice and Rights in Aristotle’s Politics. one could also refer to the famous organic theory of the state. We use the word ‘medical’ whether we refer to the mental state of the doctor and the knowledge he has. For example. 1995) 47-50. H2 1236a18. The author cites Topics I and Metaphysics V. in his discussion of the proper education Aristotle states that every human being needs different treatment in accordance with his own nature. in the Eudemian Ethics. 13 he states that all kinds of friendship relate to one another in terms of a ‘pros hen kai mian tina philian’ (towards one “focal meaning” of the concept of friendship). 1236b19 – 26. Aristotle states that all things can be said to have the same elements by analogy. Along with these references. F. 1237b8–10).. After all.

282-294 (p. and try to reflect reality from a different perspective. pp. Murchland. That’s why Aristotle uses ‘metaphor. 395-6). confirms the philosopher’s attempt to present the cosmos as a coherent whole that aims at some end (as stated in Metaphysics. Both definition and ‘metaphor’ are based on the similarities of things. and Persuasion: The Work of Metaphor in the Rhetoric”.COMMENTARY ON O’ROURKE 183 he uses as part of the treatment. 1411a22).17 _________ EE. we would raise the following objection: even if we take the similarity expressed through metaphor to be one of action and not of substance. 16 And this cannot have an end point. in A. He also observes that in ‘metaphor’ what is affirmed is not a proper analogy. Aristoteles. 10. and engaged imaginatively with ‘metaphor. matter. as if it were a syllogistic process. “Artifice. in Andriopoulos edition. some mental activity of its own.291). H2. 385-398 (particular reference to pp.). with particular reference to the distinction between act and potency. The philosophical value of ‘metaphor’ is to discover the being. Rorty. the use of analogical metaphor as well as that of proportionality provides the main methodological approach of the Aristotelian analysis. it makes things closer to perception. and it does this by showing to us every possible and endless combination of similar things in the context of dissimilarity. since the study of the being qua being cannot be a demonstrative process but a metaphorical one.’ in order to draw all the possible relations between similar and dissimilar things. but what is depicted is figured as a living thing demanding some kind or response from the audience.’ assuming that activity exists not only on the side of what is depicted..O. 1236a16–20. as Prof. This extensive use of analogical metaphor. it does not reduce its value as a method. As the philosopher says: “metaphor places things before the eyes” (Rhetoric. 15 16 . that is a resemblance of action. and is transferred to another because of some perceived but imperfect likeness. so he takes ‘metaphor’ to be an imperfect transfer of an activity from its primary to a secondary subject. As Moran rightly observes. but an imperfectly analogical resemblance: the action belongs perfectly only to one substance. form and privation. in the same way we call friendship any form of ‘philia. R. what Aristotle means by this phrase is that the mind of the hearer is provoked. In all cases. Athens. “O Aristotelis. 1075a ff. 11. 1996. 1995. 17 Moran.. O’Rourke rightly indicates. pp. and the reciprocal relationship of causes. B. i metaphora kai to ergon tis philosophias”. however. hence it helps us structure our thoughts and achieve a clearer understanding of reality.’ 15 (ii) There is emphasis on the use of analogy in metaphysics. set into motion. Here.

After all. Prof. O’Rourke has presented an interesting analysis of the metaphysics of ‘metaphor’ in Aristotle and has explored its dynamics as well as its connection with the human intellect to a fair extent. the fact that diversity is nothing else but various parts of a coherent whole. and this deviation from the structured logical order. In conclusion. we would expect further explication of the epistemological significance of ‘metaphor. In fact. it consists in a transposition of an unusual name to an ordinary one within the operative system of language. of intersubjectivity. thus providing a unified account of the human nature. as well as the epistemologi- . must be closely understood by the audience to which it is presented. Aristotle draws from the world of the senses in order to illustrate the psychic activities. the perceptive element involved in metaphor should be further emphasized. Given that ‘metaphor’ is the recognition of similarity in dissimilar things through the process of perception. O’Rourke indicates? Is there any spiritual element involved with ‘metaphor’? And which is the epistemological strength of it? If ‘metaphor’ helps humans achieve a universal comprehension of reality. and imagination with reality. which manages to disclose what can never be fully known or comprehended.’ If it manages to connect the dissimilar things with each other. i. What we would like to see more closely is the interpretation of the main definition that Aristotle provides in his Rhetoric.184 IOANNA PATSIOTI-TSACPOUNIDI III. Man and ‘Metaphor’ The most significant emphasis Prof. however. it must involve an element of objectivity. abstractions with concrete situations. It must help the human mind understand how each situation fits into this unified whole. it comes to associate the physical with the psychic part of the human existence. It is even more important that Prof. What level of knowledge does this process amount to and why is it conducive to a person’s selftranscendence. All in all. or even better. the way the Aristotelian ‘metaphora’ connects to the modern concept. At this point. as Prof. By means of sensible symbols ‘metaphor’ helps man surpass the limitations of the material world. being a legitimate one. we would like to know how this process takes place. in the minds of people.. his analysis manages to exhibit the philosophical significance that Aristotle implicitly attaches to ‘metaphora’ in his own explorative manner.e. then despite its absence of clarity. O’Rourke identifies the metaphysical element involved with analogical ‘metaphor’ with an intelligent as well as an eloquent use of language. O’Rourke places in his paper is on our understanding of the way ‘metaphor’ enhances the human intellectual capacities. and in particular. the connection between the psychic activity conveyed with terms drawn from the physical activity.

DEREE COLLEGE . which promotes communication among moral agents.COMMENTARY ON O’ROURKE 185 cal strength of it. especially if we take into consideration the fact that Aristotle is not ambivalent at all about the philosophical significance of this powerful means of conveying meaning.

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by this given person. suggestions. according to our personal need. except to the living intellect. deciding what ought to be done here and now. The authoritative oracle. So far. cautions. limitations. imprudent and patient.COLLOQUIUM 6 WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? A. he quietly follows the truth. My task today is to defend this as a reading of Aristotle. and whether the virtues form such a unity that a man cannot be ‘just and cruel. how we are to approximate in practice to our own standard. because no science of life. It comes of an acquired habit. but it cannot ascertain for us. guiding principles. solutions of critical or anxious difficulties. landmarks. not Aristotle: he proceeds to question whether phronêsis is a single faculty or a family of faculties. and it manifests itself. though it has its first origin in nature itself. but who is to apply them to a particular case? whither can we go. a number of examples. for the answers in fullness and accuracy the philosopher refers us to no code of laws. The writer is John Henry Newman. not a philological. W. however. distinctions. under these given circumstances. which is to decide our path.’ I cite him as a moral. I believe that they coincide. and it is formed and matured by practice and experience. or practical wisdom. brave and sensual. our own. One may be persuaded by what I have quoted without accepting that one is thereby being persuaded by Aristotle. general rules. It bids us avoid extremes. and the passage comes from An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (268-269). Preface I open with a slightly abbreviated quotation which is faithful to Aristotle’s conception of phronêsis. though it offers no explicit answers to some recent questions: What it is to be virtuous. . authority. is something more searching and manifold than such jejune generalizations as treatises can give. to no moral treatise. applicable to the case of an individual. Where he sees them to diverge. and to clarify it within the always shifting context of current philosophy. or any consistency in its teachings. PRICE I. any philosophical comprehension of the mutual relations of duty towards duty. the golden mean. has been or can be written. An ethical system may supply laws. or another’s? What is written is too vague. too negative for our need. not in any breadth of view. but it is a capacity sufficient for the occasion. how we are to gain the just idea and standard of virtue. what is right and wrong in a particular case.

II. II 2. 1 It thus equally relates an agent to an end. W. However. rather identifies a tendency than a dogma. The ‘Grand End’ View We read in the Eudemian Ethics that choice is ‘of something and for the sake of something’ (tinos kai heneka tinos. and that relevant factors may need to be quite specific if they are not to vary in valence between contexts. which takes an end as given: ‘No one deliberates about the end (telos)—that is there for everyone. 1227b37. as Jonathan Dancy has put it (1993: 50). ‘there is nothing that one brings to the new situation other than a contentless ability to discern what matters where it matters’? An extreme particularist reading of Aristotle would answer ‘no’ to the first three questions. I fully accept as Aristotelian what I have quoted from Newman. 1226a11-13). trying to identify where he stands. how large a role does he allow them? (3) Does he suppose that there are factors to be taken into account whose valence is invariable between different contexts? (4) Does he suppose that. so long as they allow that most principles admit exceptions. We may oppose particularism to generalism. cf.192 A. PRICE A recent line of thinking which may further our understanding of Aristotle is particularism. are the following: (1) Does Aristotle suppose that an agent’s practical decisions apply to a particular situation an articulate general specification of eudaimonia? (2) Does he suppose that there are any principles to guide decisions that apply without exception? If he does. men deliberate about the _________ I take. and a way or means (some act that subserves the end in the circumstances). Choice comes of deliberation. of the Nicomachean Ethics either from Ross (1925) or from Rowe (2002). being applicable to somewhat different claims. This is compatible with my answers to (2) and (3). ironically. II 10. and negative ones to (1) and (4). and ‘yes’ to the last. A failure to do justice to the ineliminable role of character may be common. I hope to make out that an agent brings to situations as they arise a character that infuses exercises of judgement. 1 . through a variety of issues. I shall argue for positive answers to (2) and (3). to forms of generalism and of particularism that may otherwise seem polar opposites. This label. each within a section of this paper. my translations of the Eudemian Ethics from Woods (1992). or adapt. The questions that I shall try to answer.

to spell out what fills the bill of achieving eudaimonia (1967: 277). within b21-5).’ being ‘capable of aiming in accordance with calculation (logismos) at the best for man of things attainable by action. but the subsumption of a goal within that end. We read in the De Motu Animalium of appetite saying ‘I must drink. What counts as acting well needs to be provisionally specified (to some greater degree of determinacy) before the availability of an acceptable way or means can be worked out. I take the last to have two aspects: it introduces something specific. not in some particular respect. would then ensure that desire fell in line behind reason’s dictates. This may lead one into interpreting the ‘supposition about the why’ as an attempt by the agent to provide a general determination of the determinable living well. The practically wise man is the man who is ‘without qualification good at deliberating. which exemplifies a pattern of explanation that may be equally applicable to a thirsty man. and a thirsty dog. so that nothing internal . Austin put it. and its end—as we read in one of the books common to the Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics— is a broad one: ‘It is thought to be a mark of a man of practical wisdom to be able to deliberate well about what is good and beneficial for himself.’ presumably living well (VI 7. 1227a5-9). The term logismos connotes more than the derivation of an action or decision from two premises. though one wouldn’t need to cite more than the relevant parts of it in relation to any one action. The virtue that directs deliberate action is practical wisdom. whether this or that contributes to its attainment. when that has been decided. They pursue. and ‘a supposition about the why’ (hypolêpsis tou dia ti. that is.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 193 things that lead towards it. 1140a25-8). cf. but it subsumes it within ‘the good life in general’ (EN VI 5. 1226b23. Yet Aristotle denies to animals other than men choice. how it will come about’ (II 10. It is inferred that ‘those who have no goal (skopos) before them are not in a position to deliberate’ (b29-30. or excellence of character. Other animals lack that global determinable end. The rationality of an action would be displayed by its derivation from the blueprint against a background of factual circumstance. Ethical virtue.g. on occasion. but never drinking for the sake of living well.’ and perception or imagination or reason adding ‘This is a drink’ (7. 1140a28). and hence do not act in ways explicable by ascribing to an agent not only a goal. 701a32-3). drinking. e. EE II 10. deliberation. 1141b13-14). but about what sorts of thing conduce to the good life in general’ (EN VI 5. 1226b9-12).L. The blueprint itself would be unchanging. as J. or else. about what sorts of thing conduce to health or to strength. calculation. This would be a concrete specification of how to live well that only awaited implementation from occasion to occasion of action. Here the specific drinking mediates between the general acting well and the particular doing this.

he at- _________ 2 Such a view is sketched. wealth. to take it to be inviting each agent to elaborate for himself a conception of how to live that will then be the starting-point of all his deliberations. 1214a30-b6). 1214b6-14). and. how to rank their contributions (I 1. whether it be honour or reputation or wealth or cultivation—an aim that he will have in view in all his actions. However. he should distinguish in his own mind—neither in a hurried nor in a dilatory manner—in which human thing living well consists. their content would owe nothing to desire. There Aristotle writes. refer to such a picture in all their deliberations. or three of these really are part of eudaimonia. in practice. or virtue. But above all. and that no one does. and the many do not give the same account as the wise’ (1095a17-22). ‘In so far as Broadie is claiming that no one does. and identify living well and doing well with being happy. It is tempting. In the next chapter. and before everything else. ‘Verbally there is very general agreement. for not to have ordered one’s life in relation to some end is a mark of extreme folly. He then cites a passage from EE I 2 that was also used by Richard Kraut (1993) in an early response to Broadie’s book. in practice. PRICE could cloud their reception or impede their implementation. there are parallel discussions. but with regard to what happiness is they differ. honour. That the invitation may reasonably be declined as impracticable becomes an objection to Aristotle. reading this passage within the context that I have set. or pleasure. and surely the signs are that he did not’ (2000: 84). Nothing quite like that is said in the Nicomachean Ethics (from which Kraut infers that the two Ethics may diverge). and resisted. He continues (I 2. initially in I 4. in McDowell (1998: § 11). The label intimates that she places it within an ethics of fantasy. People disagree about whether one. everyone who can live according to his own choice should adopt some goal for the fine life. and what those things are without which it cannot belong to human beings. and health (a23-5). He then cites such things as pleasure.194 A. But the question is not whether I agree but whether Aristotle agrees. it need not follow that it is un-Aristotelian. David Bostock comments. if more than one of them are. 2 Such an understanding of the starting-point of deliberation has been termed by Sarah Broadie the ‘Grand End’ view (1991: 198). . I agree with her entirely. W. for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it [the highest of all goods achievable by action] is happiness. have a fully worked-out picture of what eudaimonia consists in. or two. Taking note of these things. Aristotle has just mooted that eudaimonia may consist in one or more of three things that are taken to be the most choiceworthy: wisdom.

Is the Eudemian passage so different? It consisted of two sentences. Terence Irwin has recently urged that Socrates’ meaning there is that every soul is tireless in pursuit of the good. but by some commonplaces: ‘For being healthy is not the same as the things without which it is not possible to be healthy. and before everything else. 3 And it alone makes any sense of the transition between X 7 and X 8: whatever Aristotle is prescribing.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 195 taches himself to an old tradition in distinguishing the three lives of pleasure. These questions are answered neither by a blueprint nor by an inventory. and what those things are without which it cannot belong to human beings’ (I 2. I intend the phrase ‘do all we can’ (literally. virtue is a disposition. in the other Ethics. When he returns to a comparison between the lives of theory and of practice much later (X 7-8). 1102a2-3 (since there panta are qualified as ta loipa). Yet the second is more idiomatic. Let me take the second first: ‘But above all. if we view external goods rightly. It is present in a debated sentence of the Republic (VI. He there advances what one may call structural points: honour depends on the bestower (b24-5). living well also is not the same as the things without which living well is impossible … These are the reasons for the dispute over being happy—what it is and the means by which it comes about: things without which it is not possible to be happy are thought by some to be parts of happiness’ (b14-27). 1214b11-14). and this holds likewise in many other cases too. . he should distinguish in his own mind—neither in a hurried nor in a dilatory manner—in which human thing living well consists. so far as we can. politics. 1177b33-4). as _________ 3 This ambiguity is absent from I 13. 505e1-2). and VI 5. He is assigning to theorizing a unique value. Thus. 1095b14-19). 1140b18-19 (where we read haireisthai panta kai prattein). he is more reflective than decisive.’ and ‘strain every nerve’ (Ross) or ‘go to all lengths’ (Irwin). but not absolute priority. and only imprecisely prescriptive even at his most decisive. Rather later he argues that the life of virtue is also pleasant. make ourselves immortal. and theory (I 5. 1099a7-b8). It is a noble sentiment that we ‘must. and that it needs external goods as instruments or enhancers (I 8. but not (which his detachment of appetite from reason may make problematic) that all its acts are for the sake of the good. not demented. So the instruction is not to elaborate a full specification of eudaimonia (which isn’t what dihorizesthai could signify anyway). it is not that we should attend to theory whenever we (literally) can. He is being demanding. ‘do all things’) to be neutral between ‘perform every action. So. nor success in action (1095b32-1096a2). and implies neither action. but to distinguish components from necessary conditions. and do all we can (panta poiein) to live in accordance with the best thing in us’ (X 7.

and may be content without becoming acquisitive. though not (I believe) in context. or even a decision-procedure for acting. we may think of the three lives. is not endorsing any ‘grand end’ sufficient to direct all his deliberations. Getting that distinction right is a precondition of acting wisely on the first sentence: ‘Everyone who can live according to his own choice should adopt some goal for the fine life. viz. whether it be honour or reputation or wealth or cultivation—an aim that he will have in view in all his actions. PRICE facilitating fine action (EN I 8. The agent who is always committed to justice must remain ever awake to its exigencies. 5 If this end is nothing less than eudaimonia. yet he need not view any choice between equally just options as indifferent. the passage has nothing to say about a blueprint for living. 4 What Aristotle is advising is some way of living (such as one of the three lives) focused upon a distinctive end that is rather a priority than an object of monomania. The man who decides to be an expert scientist. 1215a35-b1).295b30-34. is a sentence from the common books: ‘Practical syllogisms have a starting-point. and the pleasure-loving. we shall lack the ambitions of a Croesus. for.13. or an honest entrepreneur. even though his first goal is complex. 2. Typically ambivalent in itself. As in the other Ethics. who was. Anaxagoras can be cited with respect for thinking ‘that it was the man who led a life without pain and free from stigma in matters of justice. “since the end. or participated in some kind of godlike speculation. W.196 A. And this may warn us of the likely ambiguity of much of the evidence. not to have ordered one’s life in relation to some end is a mark of extreme folly’ (EE I 2. for not all our lives display any such unifying and distinguishing focus. and his second unlikely to be exclusive (‘participating in’ doesn’t sound full-time). the philosophical. then the agent’s starting-point is his own charac- _________ 4 Which would constantly reduce him.’ that are chosen by ‘all who have the opportunity to choose’ (I 4. divinely-happy’ (b11-14). If this is right. see Cael. is such-and-such. 1144a31-3). ‘the political. This too must be interpreted in context. in Aristotle’s view. it need not follow that I am fixated upon them exclusively. 1214b6-11). 5 Or could ‘for the sake of a logos’ (logou charin) mean ‘to make a piece of reasoning possible’? . to the predicament of Buridan’s ass. nor exhaust one’s conception of eudaimonia. The one ‘goal for the fine life’ that one always has in view may neither be one’s only goal. 1099a31-b8). yet it is neither eccentric nor extraordinary. His prescription is not vapid.” whatever that may be (let it for the sake of argument be whatever you like)’ (EN VI 12. humanly speaking. Even if my life takes on a cohesion from some limited set of goals or values. or what is best. and not over-interpreted.

or anticipate. Now ‘the end. may be roughly mapped as follows. which influence an agent through a stretch of his life. When we read that ‘The agents themselves must in each case attend to what is appropriate to the occasion’ (ta pros ton kairon skopein.’ say with regard to health or strength. but need not be lifelong.5). or weaving a tapestry. If he then jettisons the cargo in order to secure his men’s safety. we should be put in mind of an equal flexibility in the selection of ends and of means. ‘The end of the action is according to the occasion’ (III 1. there are the life-goals of those who accept. there are the goals thrown up from occasion to occasion. Aristotle tells us. When we read ‘The starting-points of things to be done are that for the sake of which they are to be done’ (1140b1617). We may think of periodic ends. that he cannot retain his cargo without risking the lives of his men. and we have been told that technical thinking is always subordinate _________ 6 More equivocal is Aristotle’s chapter on phronêsis (VI . .’ so that it is no longer evident that ‘for the sake of this or because of this he ought to choose and do whatever he chooses and does’ (b17-19). in a storm. whether this be right or wrong. and not a standing end that may be either good or bad. This variable and contingent end cannot be read as a general goal in life. Yet the passage continues. 1151a15-16). and in respect of ‘what sorts of thing conduce to the good life in general’ (VI 5. What then of Aristotle’s distinction between deliberating ‘in some particular respect. 6 A spectrum of ends. ‘And this is not evident except to the good man’ (1144a34). ‘Virtue and vice respectively preserve and destroy the starting-point.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 197 teristic determination of it in specific terms. where ‘for man’ indicates what is a goal for everybody. all subordinate to eudaimonia. Thus a sea-captain may discover. Within his discussion of mixed actions. and that pleasure obscures ‘the starting-point. 1140a258)? The former sounds like deliberation about production rather than action. the reference could be to a Grand End. he adopts an unwelcome means of escape from an unexpected crisis. 1110a13-14). or what is best’ can indeed signify no less: compare the phrase ‘the best for man of things attainable by action’ (VI 7. such as writing a book. EN II 2. 1104a8-9). At one extreme. I take it to be whatever concrete goal a good agent would adopt in the circumstances. for the end that is only evident to the good man must be a good end. Yet Aristotle may have in mind something between those two extremes when he writes. and in actions the final cause is the starting-point’ (VII 8. if so. but different situations. it will guide him in any situation of action. This must be an end that is more than sudden. the advice given in EE I 2 by ordering their lives by relation to some end. At the other. but it could equally be to whatever end for the occasion is prompted by a proper appreciation of the plurality of human goods (b9). the variation is between not different men. 1141b13-14).

but by being focused on a restricted good (not always the same one. the marks of eudaimonia (I 7-8) turn out also to privilege contemplation above other components of eudaimonia (X 7). 8 Her explanation contrasts a technical goal not with a blueprint for life. suggests a policy of steering towards either the less distant. 1109a30-b7). and an openness to whatever considerations come into play: ‘The practical agent differs not by being focused on another special sort of good that is special because unrestricted and categorically demanding. there are actual risks and possible refinements to a good character that demand the attention of a not wholly conservative theorist. but with a wider practical receptivity. W. by two features: a focus upon a limited and accessible target. either) with a focus that sets no limit on the considerations that could affect which way he goes with regard to that good or to the points of view that might make a difference’ (1991: 211). PRICE to practical: ‘Everyone who produces produces for an end. yet it must be that. often quite commonplace). 1095b4-8). within a given situation. And there is far more to concede than can be mentioned here. for acting well is an end’ (VI 2. which is eudaimonia. Just two illustrations: the doctrine of the mean. 7 Analogy may then suggest that a practical syllogism starts from a specification not of some goal of production. 9 _________ I adopt a translation from Kenny (1979: 131). 1218b19-20). or the less tempting. 7 8 9 . itself purely formal. while the profitable study of ethics presupposes a good upbringing (I 4. since otherwise there would be no benefit in it’ (EN II 2. but of the goal of action. but for the sake of becoming good. and what is an end without qualification is not the end of production (being relative to something else.198 A. but have practical implications even at their most abstract. 1032b6-7. Aristotle’s ethical writings offer us no blueprint. he must have such-and-such a quality’ (= 7. 1103b27-9). I have already discussed what seems to me indecisive evidence of that. That medical reasoning rests upon some specification of health is stated in the Metaphysics: ‘A healthy patient is produced as a result of the following reasoning: since health is soand-so. See Price (2005: 266-70). wisely and without blinkers. After all. as Broadie emphasizes. we read ‘We are not inquiring into what excellence is for the sake of knowing it. and aims at it. His particular action is oriented not towards a segment of a lifeplan. but the end of action. EE I 8. if the patient is to be healthy. extreme (II 9. 1139b1-4). but towards some good that he can acceptably achieve in the context. And I have elsewhere traced Broadie’s footsteps in a contrary direction—saying things that I have managed not to repeat here. and the end of something). This is what the ‘Grand End’ view supposes. How this is consistent with the provision of ends by excellence of character (which I stress in § 5 below) is not to be settled in a footnote. cf. His immediate target may be narrow (and. She characterizes practical deliberation. Kraut rightly presses me on the practical role of ethical theory. but he selects it.

These give rise to ‘many variations of all sorts in respect both of the magnitude of the service and of its fineness and necessity’ (1164b28-30). and others by reason of their courage’ (EN I 3. and to ethical generalizations. ‘We must for the most part return benefits rather than oblige friends. there are exceptions to this rejection of the exceptionless. Aristotle concludes with a famous analogy: ‘When the thing is indefinite the rule also is indefinite.’ However. That ‘fine and just actions. This is exampled in EN IX 2 by the ranking principles that fail always to resolve conflicting obligations.’ not ‘universally.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 199 III. Of course. Equity is a correction of legal justice.’ That similar considerations must apply not just to second-order rules ranking first-order ones. the rule adapts itself to the shape of the stone and is not rigid. and so too the decree is adapted to the facts’ (1137b29-32). ‘Generally (katholou) the debt should be paid. but what is said about the imperfection of positive laws must apply equally to personal principles.’ but there are difficult cases: ‘Should a man who has been ransomed out of the hands of brigands ransom his ransomer in return … or should he ransom his father?’ (1164b31-1165a1). which political science investigates. that is. Hence it is not implied that principles of courage are always to be accompanied by the qualification—which would still be a general one—‘if it isn’t fatal. The least interesting instances are truisms of the kind ‘One should act finely. Principles Acts fall under principles.’ Aristotle replies—but katholou here evidently means ‘generally. like the leaden rule used in making the Lesbian moulding. exceptionless? Certainly characteristic of Aristotle is an awareness of exceptions both to practical principles. This actually implies a degree of invariance: evidently an act of a kind generally brave may still count as brave itself even if it turns out fatal (though that may make it rash if nothing sufficiently grave is at stake). admit of much variation and fluctuation’ is a thought immediately applied to the second rather than the first: an illustration is that ‘men have perished by reason of their wealth. we soon find that it is typical of practical principles to take on the indefinite qualification ‘for the most part’ (hôs epi to polu).’ EN IX 2 has a sentence that moves in a narrow circle: ‘We ought . 1094b14-19). is explicit in the better-known discussion of equity in EN V 10. but to first-order rules themselves. Are any practical principles absolute.

ever to be right with regard to them. and whether it is neutrally identifiable. and not the excesses or deficiencies of them. of what is legally his and cannot _________ This is introduced by a substantive principle. virtuous or vicious as entailing a practical judgement prescribing or proscribing it. adultery. 10 . That one should not commit ‘theft’ risks tautology: theft is feloniously depriving a man of his property. More openly generalizing is another passage: ‘Not every action admits of a mean. so it cannot be interpreted as a universal truth about everything that one ever does for a parent or a brother. which is a corollary of his doctrine of the unity of the virtues. which raise special issues. for the things that “forced” Euripides’ Alcmæon to slay his mother seem absurd’ (III 1. thus Terence Irwin justifiably infers from EN IV 6-8 that ‘we ought never to make fun of people simply to raise a laugh. 10 Equally evident tautologies are generated by the virtues and vices. that is. ‘We ought to render different things to parents. 11 Thus Aristotle interprets the assessment of an option as. and all acts displaying a vice wrong. There are also principles that prescribe making distinctions: ‘We should not give preference in all things to the same person’ (IX 2. a12).200 A. PRICE to render to each class what is appropriate and becoming’ (1165a17-18). One may forbid matricide: ‘Some acts. in some way. More substantive are a handful of universal and concrete prohibitions to which Aristotle expresses allegiance.g. at the right time. 1107a8-17). 1164b30). this isn’t falsified by a case where I should do for my brother precisely what I do for my father. However. However. Nor does goodness or badness with regard to such things depend on committing adultery with the right woman. perhaps. and in the right way. that all acts displaying a virtue are right. for some have been named in a way that combines them with badness from the start. W. we cannot be forced to do. that all that he intends here is a series of tautologies. it is left open what range of acts is being excluded. 1110a26-9). 12 It is unclear what range of cases Aristotle has in mind by ‘suchlike things’ (ta toiauta. for all of these and suchlike things owe their names to the fact they are themselves bad. and benefactors’ (1165a16-17). It is not possible. 12 I slightly abbreviate the passage to omit examples of prohibited passions. 11 Slightly more interesting are rules prescribing a regard for values even in contexts that tempt their neglect. Some might argue. then. but simply to do any of them is to go wrong’ (II 6. theft. comrades. e. given Aristotle’s view. this doesn’t entail that Orestes was wrong to kill his. brothers. without any regard for what is fine or expedient’ (2000: 111). see Price (2005: 260). precisely from the clause ‘These and suchlike things imply by their names that they are themselves bad’ (a12-13). but ought rather to face death after the most fearful suffering. murder. one must always be wrong. Take his three cases in turn.

or deny that. given the unity of the virtues. but that a particular action is of one of those kinds. not overridingly).’ However. the term ‘just’ has any necessary implications for what is virtuous. perhaps. we agree in recognizing as exculpatory features.. which is with ‘murder. Price (2000: 142) on the Greek word barbaros. any married woman other than his own wife.. or only presumptively (i. And ‘adultery. Again.’ ‘murder. 1121b20-21). cf. in defining those kinds.e. it appears to go without saying that theft is wrong. in its use within a definition of property. applicable to all non-Greeks. as Aristotle does. in their concrete reality.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 201 justly be taken from him against his will (except. However. but either in a way (i. is descriptive in origin as in upshot.’ In each case.’ or ‘adultery’ is impossible unless the speaker disapproves of the acts to which they apply.’ and ‘adultery. it may well be that applications of the three terms (and their Greek equivalents) reflect and attract attitudes rather differently. I believe that the argument is mistaken. To claim that all acts of those kinds are wrong is not to state a tautology. may be a pejorative term whose sense. and the use of ‘just’ to signify a virtue. non-ironic and truth-directed use of the term ‘theft. However. So long as we count what is unjust as thereby wrong. determining reference. So if someone calls an action murder. 13 Use of the term ‘murder’ commonly conveys assent to a moral consensus. homicide. or even unjust. it is as meriting our condemnation that those kinds of act are appropriately placed within that set. even if he is telling the truth. On this view. we had better either reject the unity of the virtues. and hence lacks what. it may appear.. it looks to be a tautology that one should not commit murder. . that it was wrong.e.’ ‘murder. Of the three. no doubt. ‘adultery’ may best appear definable in non-evaluative terms: Aristotle elsewhere counts as an adulterer (moichos) a man who has intercourse with married women (i. and hence an act of murder.) ‘Murder’ signifies something like unlawful.e. and hence unjust. We commonly think of any murder as bad overall. since its extension has a unity even within a neutral perspective. An act of homicide counts as murder so long as it is of one of those kinds. It is indeed shared attitudes that give _________ 13 The argument attempts to assimilate the three terms ‘theft.) Yet certain acts of theft may be bad not overall. (If we hold that theft can be the lesser of two evils.’ in its literal sense (for the OED recognizes an extended sense in Scripture). is a matter of fact. in some public emergency). think of a consequentialist who advises A to murder C if the alternative is that B murders C and D. it doesn’t follow logically. (However.’ and I shall challenge it where it is strongest. yet it also thereby connotes a set of kinds of act. EE II 4. it would seem that a speaker who doesn’t think that the marriage ceremony creates any obligations cannot use the term ‘adultery’ any more seriously than a person who rejects the institution of property can use the term ‘theft. even if Aristotle is right in each case to make the prohibition absolute. not at all).

and distances the speaker from them in this case—and yet without treating it as a marginal instance to which the concept only contestably applies. it is no accident that the terms that enter into such principles have extensions that are contestable at the margin. Hence it is paradoxical to say ‘That was a murder that had nothing against it. W. It is no accident they are all negative as well as concrete: ‘Do nothing that counts as murder’ is a practicable rule.202 A. whereas ‘Do everything that respects life’ is not. ‘good murder’ is not (as yet). PRICE such a term its sense. and in excluding exceptions.5. ‘We should not on that account ascribe to him an official doctrine inconsistent with another of his official doctrines’ (1991: 261 n. See Foot (2001: 77-8) for a defence of ‘lying through one’s teeth’ in certain exceptional circumstances—circumstances that may totally exculpate the agent even though they do nothing to make the term inapplicable. for another example. it is at least to be able to enter into them sympathetically. equivocation is a subtle form of truth-telling or a blatant kind of lying. Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862). surely views that ‘one little. the ‘student’ in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866). This makes the principles flexible without rendering them anodyne. for example. 33). She takes her view to be supported by the very doctrine of the mean. self-contradictory. yet it is not. n. supposing it to imply that the decision whether to do a certain thing ‘is never taken care of _________ 14 As I have noted elsewhere (2005: 276.’ since this at once exploits the attitudes that have determined the sense and extension of the term. say in asserting ‘That was murder. . a nun who has just told a lie for the first time in her life. where the excited author is led to exclaim to one of his characters. I think.’ but comments. 14 So Aristotle’s confidence in these exceptionless principles remains striking. indeed. perhaps even inconsistent? Broadie finds it so: ‘It contradicts some of his best-known positions to hold that any neutrally described kind of action (let alone all the members of some set of kinds) is always right to perform’ (1991: 210). whose advocacy of killing and robbing the old moneylender Raskolnikov overhears to his ruin (I 6). Fully to grasp the sense of the term probably requires sharing the attitudes that give its application a shape. any) of the acts to which it applies merit the attitudes that mold that sense. 1110a26-9) ‘may carelessly contradict this. and is not to be explained away. Yet is the universality surprising. However. I 8. She concedes that what she takes to be a ban on matricide (EN III 1.’ is not to say anything that entails that the attitudes are justified both in general. Yet it is not part of its sense that all (or.’ a rule that remains controversial even outside debate about whether. insignificant transgression’ as meriting the phrase. cf. but to apply it. 19)—whatever the force of ‘official’ is meant to be. Compare ‘One should never tell a lie. ‘Que ce mensonge vous soit compté dans le paradis!’ ‘White lie’ is a cliché. We may—or may not—wish that Aristotle had recognized such possibilities in principle.

negative and positive. 15 . in application to Aristotle’s craft analogies.’ This claims to know Aristotle’s mind better than Aristotle himself. in Pakaluk (unpublished). n. to conceding that it can be right. Wiggins (2004: 482. 17 I quote from Watson (2004:125). You can’t go across country. 3) well distinguishes deciding upon a particular omission as itself the solution to some practical problem. it can hardly be the case that every conceivable option has to be assessed by an exercise of judgement. which is enough to distinguish these from neutral descriptions. This in no way implies that the option that should be privileged is yielded by the mechanical application of a rule—though this is one way in which he may be spared ‘a state of uncertainty that requires resolution by deliberation. and when _________ A later note ad 1107a11-12 (Broadie and Rowe. 1112a33-b9. 16 There is no such implication in the most sophisticated and satisfactory treatment I know. 18 This is usefully brought out. are difficult. and excluding certain general ways of acting from the space of deliberation. If we understood better what fixed the mean. to commit adultery.’ 17 a condition (happily not ubiquitous) which demands that he make up his mind. you will break your neck for your pains. if you attempt a steeplechase. 18 The matter is less transparent. of course. We may recall a remark in Chapter 7 of his novel Loss and Gain (1848): ‘The moral world is not an open country. cf. whether universally or in context: they just don’t enter his deliberations—unless to be rejected at once. we would also be better placed to explain when rules can be absolute. 2002: 306) is ambivalent: ‘Actions falling under these descriptions are wrong prima facie. EN III 3.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 203 by the description of what might be done’ (1991: 210). Even when it is required. 15 The implication is hardly self-evident—though it would take an exposition of the doctrine to assess it properly. and the reference to III 1 is curious in the light of the occurrence precisely there of the other passage that causes difficulty (1110a26-9). or even to kill one’s mother? Surely not. on occasion. However. 16 Does what I quoted from Newman really commit him. Most of the options that an agent might otherwise consider are evidently unacceptable.’ How much is implied in The Grammar of Assent by his emphasis upon practical judgement? No more than Aristotle does he claim that judgement is always required for correct practice. but here Aristotle takes the stronger position that they are always wrong. just because the very notion of judgement excludes any simple procedure for distinguishing good from bad judgement. One is right to reject the ideal of precision in ethics by recognizing how often and to what extent it fails to apply. and not by pretending that all policies and decisions. his discussion of hard choices in III 1 holds out the possibility that he might consider them excusable under certain circumstances. if he thinks things through. it has its roads. which is Müller (2004). it is already marked and mapped out.

19 And that it may be fine to hold back from acting finely. An extreme view would be that all features vary in valence in this way. which is the notion of negative responsibility that is part of consequentialism. The particularist claims that features of an act may count for or against it in different contexts. if this prompts another to act finely. and some are worthy to be chosen. We find that. . if this prompts another to act basely. Aristotle does lack one ground for making exceptions. ‘the good man is seen to assign to himself the greater share in what is fine’ (a34-b1) shows that it is still his action or restraint that is important from his point of view. others to be avoided. a weak view would be that some features do. but a plausible inference from a central principle within his account of pleasure. IV. 1169a32-4). to make my performing it not only permissible but obligatory. they are otherwise grounded. as he then restates it. are the pleasures. Variable Valence One aspect of Dancy’s particularism is more precisely labelled variabilism. too. This is not a piece of free-floating moralism. does not entail that it must be base to hold back from acting basely. ‘Pleasure at a wrong action compounds the wrong. The pleasure proper to a worthy activity is good and that proper to an unworthy activity bad’ (EN X 5. The most plausible instance is pleasure. and others neutral.’ Why should this be? Why should the object of the pleasure alter its valence? Aristotle’s view of the matter is explicit: ‘Since activities differ in respect of goodness and badness. it may be finer to become the cause of his friend’s acting than to act himself’ (IX 8. Aristotle is not entirely without such a notion of vicarious responsibility: the good man ‘may even give up actions to his friend. while certain of Dancy’s examples are present in Aristotle. 1175b24-8). Take any unmentionable act: consequentialism implies that we have only to imagine a situation in which either I perform it once. for to each activity there is a proper pleasure. or someone else performs it twice.204 A. which is. so are the corresponding pleasures’ (b36). see Müller (1977). PRICE (more often) they need to be applied with discretion. Once we have described some good and enjoyable mode of activity sufficiently to identify what pleasure is taken in it by the agent. that ‘as activities are different. wrongly. This gives them what is called variable valence. W. _________ 19 This may seem unattractive. and he offers counter-indications to others. Yet his view that. in such a case. As Dancy justly observes (1993: 60). so.

then. this does not indicate that the pain of a life-saving amputation was not a bad thing before the invention of anaesthetics. but in the abstract perhaps involuntary’ (a18). That Dancy’s grounding is different is plain from another. did not his aesthetic pleasure become bad in context? This raises two questions. of the activity itself. Nothing just cited implies. it became very bad in context as unfitting to the occasion? . ‘That an operation is painful is no reason against it if it is really necessary. such remarks relate rather to the type of the activity than to the context of the token. or rather glosses. proposing that. but at the wrong time.) Secondly. the pleasure itself became simply bad. Dancy must hold that the necessity removes the disvalue from the pain.’ which permits a variabilist view that. Aristotle goes so far as to claim that pleasures of a reprehensible kind may make it preferable not to be alive (EE I 5. He instances (1993: 55-6) extracting a seaurchin from one’s daughter’s foot. (If so. He writes of throwing goods overboard in a storm. say. though still mildly good in itself. ‘Such actions are voluntary. ‘In the abstract no one throws goods away voluntarily. Rowe translates. 1215b25-6). doubtless for fun. Such actions. and to my mind less plausible. or that. that if I take a gourmet’s pleasure in eating a marron glacé on an occasion when I should abstain. why were they invented? Only for inessential surgery?) A better example for Dancy might be this: we are told that Nero fiddled as Rome burned. we may object. example. are mixed.’ When he concludes. but different perspectives upon the same act- _________ 20 Someone might say. if the first was the case. for they are worthy of choice at the time when they are done. was he taking an innocent pleasure in playing the fiddle. However. ‘if it is just a matter of throwing it away. and count in favor. First. and the end of an action is relative to the occasion’ (1110a9-14). or a perverse pleasure in playing the fiddle inopportunely? (I presume that it was not from absence of mind that he felt like fiddling then. most obviously. it appears that it is the act-token that Aristotle counts as ‘mixed. even though it is a perfectly natural corollary of the operation. in the storm. then any pleasure proper to it will be characteristic of a bad agent. if there is no alternative. the pleasure makes the eating worse. Here there is nothing inappropriate about the pain: anyone would find the operation painful to undergo. and make it worse.’ But if ‘no reason’ here means no good reason (as it idiomatically may).WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 205 that pleasure will have invariant valence: it will be a good. he is shifting between not different tokens of the same type. If the activity is by nature bad. and yet surely. in context. the father acts reluctantly. Crucial here is the force of ‘in the abstract’ (haplôs). but on condition of its securing the safety of himself and his crew any sensible man does so. the pain caused does not tell at all against the action taken. 20 That Aristotle would disagree with Dancy is indicated by his discussion of unusual acts required by unusual situations in EN III 1. should we say that. but are more like voluntary actions. the act loses its disvalue. However.

it is only in a derivative sense that there are bad pleasures. And then there is nothing that has variable valence. ceteris paribus—no positive extra is needed in a situation to make it good. so that no value attaches to pleasure as a determinable. 21 _________ A modified variabilism finds room for the concept of a default valence. to undesirable experiences of enjoying the badness of bad things (X 5.) We might say that pleasure carries a default valence which is positive. If so. for these are only pleasures for bad people (a21-2). than a variabilist one. he might hold that some act-types vary in valence between sub-types. or throwing goods overboard in a storm). but that some tokens of it are unwelcome in themselves. The variabilist might hold. 1176a26-9). However. In either case. or throwing goods overboard) has a valence that is invariable through specific sub-types (e. to describe the captain as acting ‘unwillingly’? One may. If so. those of good people (X 5. The fact that an activity gives pleasure may provisionally indicate that it has value. the ground of value is not the fact. and not as varieties of a single type. hedonic value is highly specific—a view of it that may be thought less generalist. Even within the class of good pleasures. which is carried further in Dancy. we must ask for his ground. but the object. of enjoyment. find this rather confused. Thus the grounding that Aristotle may appear to offer for one instance of variable valence actually tells against it. These stand to each other as real and relative. is really about tokens rather than types. His likely meaning is not that the type has varying valence.g. however specific. 21 . If so. rather. (On this. though secondarily. primary and secondary. in English.. but accepted in context. However. Better stated. but also. when its object is evil. there is then no single type of mental state that is variably realized in good and bad pleasures.206 A. Why else should it be plausible. On this conception. Or else. weakly and indeterminately. see Dancy 2004: 112-17. he assumes that the act-type throwing goods overboard has an invariant negative valence. pleasure is good. W. Aristotle makes a corresponding contrast: ‘Pleasure is good’ is true of what really count as pleasures. the issue is whether the general act-type (enjoying oneself. has further sub-types that differ in valence. though one that is overridden in certain cases of necessity. and hence in a correlative sense more particularist. Aristotle offers an intelligible one in the case of pleasure: pleasures that vary in nature may also vary in valence. that any acttype. Nothing that I have reported. enjoying being bad. forthcoming. from Aristotle or Dancy. and yet. its valence gets reversed. it isn’t the thing that varies in valence. it is then tempting to suppose that the whole value inheres in the determinate pleasure. PRICE token. 1176a17-19). admittedly. yet it never constitutes its value. strongly and implausibly. ‘pleasure’ is a general term that applies mostly to desirable experiences. viz.

1144a8. or should. Or they may exclude any attempt to relate exercises of that ability to anything else that the agent brings to the situation. play any role in generating or explaining the decision. an ability whose presence in us is explained by our having undergone a successful moral education’ (1993: 50). and any general concerns or principles that may enter into that decision or be thrown up by it. An extreme particularism might deny that such concerns or principles do. Yet his having that concern will be explanatory neither of that decision. Such a person is someone who gets it right case by case. As Aristotle held.’ and ‘just is. That others don’t may be explained either simply by lack of education. Dancy is already supported by Section II above. EE II 11.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 207 V. or by impediments and interferences. for those who are past educating. and clearly not careless. He also writes as follows (1993: 64): Our account of the person on whom we can rely to make sound moral judgements is not very long. we might offer the generalization that he cares about things of a certain kind. I quoted from Dancy a claim that makes no reference to general concerns at all: ‘There is nothing that one brings to the new situation other than a contentless ability to discern what matters where it matters. claim that the end or goal of action is initially set by ethical virtue (telos. nor of any others. That some agents consistently get things right becomes a product of education that has no other describable effect. EN VI 12. In the light of some choice by the agent. it will just be a corollary of the particular decisions that he takes. And the answer is that for us it is probably too late. Virtue and Action At the heart of particularism is the relation between a decision to act in some determinate way in a certain situation.’ They may just exclude any attempt to rest the ability to get things right upon some mechanism generating true answers to practical questions. To have the relevant sensitivities just is to be able to get things right case by case. skopos. there is no real remedy. EE II 11. This must give desire much . But that is all there is to say on the matter. EN VI 13. The only remaining question is how we might get into this enviable state. or the calculations of an idiot savant? Rationalist interpreters of Aristotle have difficulty with his recurrent. 1145a5-6. To be so consistently successful. moral education is the key. we need to have a broad range of sensitivities. But do exercises of the ability really proceed in the kind of accompanying mental void that one associates with the deliverances of telepathy. 1228a1-2. and we do not mistake its relevance either. 1227b22-4). If so. the second case invites a richer present characterization than bare denial of the ability. so that no relevant feature escapes us. It is unclear how to interpret such phrases as ‘nothing … other than.

Since I accept the interpretation that it conveys. in these circumstances.208 A. the other of the subject’ (VII 3. though Aristotle does once allow that a right choice may be characteristic without deriving from actual deliberation or reasoning (III 8. notably in EN VI. For these variable facts are the starting-points for the apprehension of the end. What is there to be said about the exercise either of virtue or of practical wisdom. W. since ‘these’ signifies minor premises. I should warn the reader that Ross’s ‘these variable facts are the starting-points for the apprehension of the end’ is really a gloss upon Rowe’s more literal ‘these are the starting points of that for the sake of which’ (1143b4). since the universals are reached from the particulars. 23 I prefer (with D. in the earlier passage.D. 1145a46). rather freely. as follows: The intuitive reason (nous) involved in practical reasonings grasps the last and variable fact. of these therefore we must have perception. if we read ‘the universal. Ross translates one of them (VI 11. are famously opaque.J. and the selection of an end. 1147a4-5). That variation may not be crucial here: whether the agent just chooses and acts rightly. and yet any generalization to practical principles must derive from conjunctions linking a minor premise to a conclusion (doing this. may begin to suggest _________ See Broadie (1991: 244-5). ‘There are two kinds of universal term: one is predicable of the agent. i. and this perception is intuitive reason. the thought must rather be that ends are suggested by circumstances. Yet it is easier. PRICE more than the subordinate role allowed it by the ‘Grand End’ view. which can alone settle whether the end is acceptably pursuable in the circumstances. the minor premiss. If ‘these’ signified actions. not the conclusion. other than by identifying the kind of thing that it achieves? About the structure of deliberation Aristotle says much. for two reasons: first. Success in finding whether there is an acceptable way or means to achieving the end. in the margin of his copy of Bywater’s EN) the alternative manuscript reading to katholou (singular) to ta katholou (plural) in b5. 22 23 . is then owed to practical wisdom (EN VI 13.e. his getting things right is an exercise of his ability to do so. 22 Its exercise is commonly described as involving a process of deliberation (of the kind described in III 3). though not always—because of his tendency to treat one thing at a time—in a manner that clarifies its relation to perception. Aristotle had better not have in mind a practical induction that would derive general principles from particular cases.’ taking this to be whatever major premise is prompted by the perceived particulars. or deliberates rightly first. the thought would simply be that actions realize ends. 1143b2-5). And some crucial passages. his focus is upon the minor premise. Ross’s ‘the universals’ is innocuous so long as we connect it with a later observation. Allan. 1117a20-22). W.

One agent is distinguished from another by a mindset that he derives from his nature and experience and brings to a situation. resides the understanding of the reason for performing an action. . cf. Wiggins is less unreal: ‘It is hard to conceive of there being an evaluation of x and y in the absence of a structure of pre-existing concerns that will direct the imagining of what x amounts to and of what y amounts to and that will focus the evaluator’s attendant perceptions of the circumstances’ (2002b: 244. 24 The particularism expressed in the two sentences I quoted from Dancy at the beginning of this section is too exclusively cognitivist if it asserts baldly that the good agent is the man who. Rather. I should always or usually do so and so). the realization of his distinctive concerns). They supply the agent with distinctive standing concerns to supplement the common-garden concerns that we all carry around with us. The roles of the virtues of character and of practical thinking are multiple and inter-connected. practical principles are typically (if not universally) qualified by a ‘for the most part’ which is not shorthand for exceptions that could be fully spelled out. 2004: 481). This suggests a purely rational Kantian will. Rather. or endanger. McDowell (1998: § 5). talk of induction would separate perception (as providing the data) from nous (as generalizing from them). and my name for this is intuitive reason’ (2002a: 236). and acceptably pursuable in the situation. and then gets expressed in the major premise. as Michael Woods well observed (1986: 159). Its origins will surely include some element of general exhortation as well as particular precept and actual _________ 24 Cf. They lend salience to certain aspects of a situation (those which invite. For the major premise and the generalizable concern that comes with it arise from this perception of something particular. upon inspection of a situation. A tenable particularism must concede a need for standing concerns whose objects can only be general. or its end. David Wiggins offers a helpful gloss: ‘For here. They determine that the goal selected is both generally acceptable. secondly.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 209 that. while Aristotle wishes to equate the two. can identify what is to be done. in such and such circumstances. ‘the universal is reached from the particulars’ in that it is the concrete features of the situation which activate the general concern that is appropriate to them. in the capacity to find the right feature and form a practical syllogism. So one must have an appreciation or perception of the particular. what it can properly deny is that these concerns have a precision that yields universal principles whose citing in context entails particular decisions. though one that responds to situations as they arise and not to universal imperatives.

the particular judgement applies beyond its own case. 25 and it will be constituted by general dispositions of desire (and the pro tanto evaluations that inform and express them) as well as capacities of discrimination. as an element in judgement. Hence I may not know. A general evaluation expressive of a standing attitude may. what future decisions are implicit in my present one. in a mature agent.210 A. and for what end. but against the background that is constituted by one’s character. but themselves contain no precise answer _________ Cf. 25 26 . is not neutral. A man who is keen on making mischief may be equally perceptive of opportunities. whether in general or according to the context. but relevant ones. Yet the perception that prompts desire’s selection of a goal need not be articulate beyond identifying the feature that connects the goal to the action proposed. Of course a mere difference in time and place can make no moral difference. or prima facie (identifying a value or disvalue that on occasion disappears). 1179b4-9. 27 If I am to perceive this with pleasure in a way that is sufficiently sensitive to possible complications (here and now may not be the time and place for eating. the two are not separable: discrimination. On principles that are normative and explanatory. but of the right things. though defeasible and not exceptionless. but involves detecting not just fine differences. though the wrong ones. This leaves open options that are surely to be selected not in accordance with a blanket prejudice. Thus I may need to perceive that this is chicken if I am to connect my present situation to a goal of healthy eating (VI 7. EN X 9. The premises of a practical syllogism specify what the agent is doing. though its application is often irreducibly present and particular. The agent’s pre-existing concerns provide criteria of relevance. which. 26 Distinguishing the concerns that are brought to bear upon the situation from the judgement that emerges. or healthy eating). and Lance and Little (unpublished) for a contemporary elaboration. Yet it is perceiving with pleasure that motivates pursuit. we may say that the agent’s distinctive sensibility is general and pre-existent. 431a8-11. Indeed. see Irwin (2000: 10613) for a reading of Aristotle. 27 Compare what I say elsewhere (2005: 273-4) about An. I must be open to a wider range of contextual features than I can single out. W. we can say rather more about it than that it enables one to get things right. While Aristotle could not consistently spell out its working as if they were demonstrative. apply either pro tanto (identifying a value or disvalue to be weighed in the balance). when I decide to eat this. III 7. is something fairly constant that he carries around with him. PRICE practice. 1141b20-21). but with a reasoned discrimination between cases. The ‘eye’ of experience (VI 11. To this extent. Judgement is exercised not only within a situation. 1143b13-14) that is as trustworthy here as demonstrations are elsewhere is not ethically neutral: it is perceptive not of anything.

The uncodifiability of such conceptions (a term that one may look up in the index to McDowell’s 1998 collection) goes much further than that: it often leaves the agent with having to rely upon how he feels about a situation as it presents itself to him on a particular occasion. This desire precedes any syllogizing. and only later to come to recognize what is wrong with it. So. 28 To this extent. Yet the eudaimonism sets a wider background: acceptably realizing such goals contributes to the happy life. since he can only in part articulate why he feels as he does. a paragraph of Dancy’s (2004: 149) that concludes as follows: ‘It should be possible first to discern that an action is wrong. and to decide a second case now as it now decides a first. still its present act is for the present. which is a way of life ‘such that one who obtains it will have his desire fulfilled’ (EE I 5. not for the distant or the future.g. 1143a36-b1). it does not determine what a man should do ten years hence.’ At the heart of Aristotle’s conception is his notion of practical truth. it is an expression of the virtue of character that makes the goal right (e. and linked to it by ‘reasoning for the sake of something’ (logos hou heneka tinos. but then having a conception of eudaimonia must irreducibly include being disposed to characteristic perceptions involving pleasure or pain. The deliberate desire that is choice (1139a23) must be distinguished from the desire that is the origin (archê) of choice. 701a25-8). we can confirm what follows immediately after my initial quotation from Newman’s Essay (269): practical wisdom. We may say that. ideally.’ . A full explanation of that would involve an analysis of one of the most condensed chapters of the Ethics (EN VI 2). What kind of desire does Aristotle have in mind when he identifies ‘the good state’ (to eu) of practical thinking with practical truth. 1144a7-8). his response expresses an implicit conception of eudaimonia.WAS ARISTOTLE A PARTICULARIST? 211 to the question what situations are sufficiently similar to merit the same response. but of background desires. or what another should do at this time. What constitutes the ‘rightness’ of the wish? It is partly contextual: this goal is acceptably achievable in these circumstances.. Cf. It may indeed happen to decide ten years hence as it does now. even though a logos may well contain implicit premises (MA 7. to the extent that it is characteristic of the agent to respond in this way to this context. we must not construe this conception as the internalization of a set of propositions that may then be put to explicit or implicit use. VI 12. _________ 28 Note that Aristotle contrasts the operation of perceptive nous with the deployment of a logos (EN VI 11. and the wish which provides the reasoning with a target (a32-3). ‘decides nothing hypothetical. This confirms the importance not only of choices in context. a32-3). and thus both the choice which pursues what reasoning proposes (a24-6). he continues. if we are to speak here of the agent’s expressing an implicit conception of eudaimonia. which is ‘truth in agreement with right desire’ (1139a29-31)? It is surely desire in general.

Tad Brennan. enters into the rightness of his current action as much as its concrete setting. by Margaret Graver and Richard Kraut. he is ‘the standard and measure’ of good action (III 4. The latter were hosted. W. with his characteristic aspirations and potentialities. Aristotle’s ethics is richly agent-centered. I benefited from the restrained but pertinent comments of an anonymous BACAP referee. a life free of the conflicts and regrets begotten by moral deficiency (EN IX 4. . It is as much for him as of him. He certainly avoids the errors of a generalism that pays too little regard to the passing contingencies of circumstance.212 A. presented in a modern terminology. The good man is not just the man who acts well: rather. I also enjoyed talking with my BACAP respondent.30 BIRBECK COLLEGE _________ 29 For related reflections. that it is good. and discussions at Dartmouth College and Northwestern University. 1105a32-3. Not that eudaimonia comes of achieving whatever one desires. 1172a10-14). and yet it is partly by reference to them that an action counts as right: acting well is the expression in context of a good ethical character (II 4. Finally. and several research students whose names I shall surely hear in future. 1113a33). Slovenia. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. and enlivened by Elizabeth Asmis. Subsequently. This character is owed to a shared culture that is communicated within lasting friendships (IX 12. from the writings of Martha Nussbaum. Good standing desires don’t determine right actions by any decision procedure. at Bled. PRICE 1215b17-18). it consists of actions that together make up a life that is humanly both desired and desirable. It is not as a product extended in time. but as conserving a constancy of character through contextual discontinuities. ). good or bad. Justin Broackes. VI 2. as an ethical subject. 1139a33-4). Its being of a piece is not imposed upon change and chance by a procrustean design. 1166a27-9). I learnt much (more than can be adequately incorporated here) from a weeklong conference on particularism held. rather. respectively. Bridget Clarke. but elicited by them from a practiced judgement whose decisions time will not translate into regrets (IX 4. 30 This paper has benefited. Bakhurst (2000: 173- 6). 1166b6-29). comments from Richard Kraut. that a life takes on a coherent shape. The persisting agent whose life it is. 29 So is Aristotle a particularist? There is no simple answer. perhaps he also avoids the errors of a particularism that regards too little the persisting humanity of agents. conversations with David Wiggins. in ideally beautiful and relaxing surroundings. cf. no doubt insufficiently.

n. with a focus on whether Aristotle subscribed to the theory of moral particularism set out in the work of Jonathan Dancy. to ask ‘Was Aristotle a particularist?’ is to inquire how well this body of work succeeds as a reading of Aristotle. 1143a25-b5). Price risks leaving the impression that the issue of Aristotle’s particularism turns on far narrower grounds than it actually does.’ or that their views are identical in their essentials. See the next note. In the version of the paper Price presented at the meeting in May. misleadingly in my view. then. 2 Professor Price has asked the question in a somewhat different way. includes Dancy in the mix with McDowell.1094b11-23. Wiggins and Nussbaum. He also. VI 8. so this is to ask a rather different question. II 2. IV 5. . but that all of them develop readings of Aristotle that give special prominence to the passages indicated. the closest Dancy comes to claiming an Aristotelian pedigree for his own view is to endorse McDowell’s view as Aristotelian while aligning his own view with McDowell’s in select respects (Dancy 1993. Although there are indications that Dancy would claim Aristotle as a kindred spirit. it is Ross. 1109b14-23. his particularism does not originate in a reading of Aristotle’s Ethics. 1142a23-30. He has since drawn brief comparisons (perhaps as a result of our exchange).107. but only in passing. By Aristotle’s ‘Ethics’ I mean both the Nicomachean and Eudemian works. he is seeking to explicate there (1993. 1126a30-1126b4. In what follows. 6). I do not mean that everyone in this group identifies his or her view as ‘particularist. esp. For whatever distance there is between Dancy’s particularism and Aristotle’s Ethics need not extend to the relation between particularist readings of the Ethics and the Ethics itself.COMMENTARY ON PRICE BRIDGET CLARKE Some of the most influential work on Aristotle’s Ethics in recent years has attached special importance to Aristotle’s scepticism about the purchase of action-guiding principles (Nicomachean Ethics I 3. 3 By not clearly distinguishing these questions. Particularist readings of Aristotle may also be found to varying degrees in: Nussbaum (1986. 1104a1-10) and his corresponding emphasis upon the proper grasp of particulars (EN II 9. he made no mention of McDowell. not Aristotle. I will try to keep the question of Aristotle’s particularism appropriately open by showing that the par- _________ 1 Such a reading has been most extensively developed in the work of John McDowell with many of the relevant papers appearing in McDowell (1998a).1 A natural way. 50-51). in a footnote. VI 11. Wiggins (2002a. then. 1990). 2002b. 2 Irwin (2000) considers this question but. I hope to make clear that they do not succeed in taking the measure of McDowell’s account for the issues at hand. takes a view about the meaning of EN II 9. 1109b23. while I welcome these. 3 To my knowledge. 2004) and—at least potentially— Broadie (1991).

Moral thought. . 5) Price gives us good reasons to distinguish Dancy’s wholesale rejection of principles from what we find in Aristotle. Price argues in favor of the idea that Aristotle allows for substantive exceptionless principles. and the possibility of moral distinctions—none of these depends in any way on the provision of a suitable supply of moral principles. such as ‘Don’t murder your mother. as exceptionless rules of conduct. The particularist’s concern is: to what extent and in what ways do general notions or ‘principles. that _________ 4 I am using ‘morality’ interchangeably with ‘ethics’ to refer to the sphere concerning how it is best for humans to live. however. and that this keeps him from locating this middle ground as successfully as he might. he distances Aristotle from the kind of generalism that is a familiar feature of the modern moral landscape. inform morality? 4 Price considers the place of generalities in Aristotle’s Ethics in three main connections: as ends ( ) in deliberation. moral judgment. that he concedes too much to the form of generalism he opposes. These different contexts join up to suggest the outlines of the overall place of principles in practical wisdom on Aristotle’s account.’ He also suggests that Aristotle admits of action-features with fixed moral valence. and as generalizations about morally relevant features of actions. moreover. one that gives the character of the agent an indispensable role in the exercise of practical reason. This claim is what I call particularism. At the same time. Dancy’s latest work is entitled Ethics Without Principles and in it he maintains: [M]orality has no need for principles at all. He naturally denies.214 BRIDGET CLARKE ticularist literature on the Ethics anticipates Price’s criticisms of Dancy while also furnishing what I take to be a more convincing account of practical wisdom than Price himself. to identify this ground with an especially tenable form of particularism. I. (2004.’ broadly speaking. then. II. I will argue. I think that Price is quite right to suggest that Aristotle occupies a middle ground between these extremes and.

The whole passage is relevant. which is to decide our path. he can bring some precepts and ethical generalizations to bear. who is thus his own law. such as caring for one’s family members. p. is something more searching and manifold than such jejune generalizations as treatises can give. though it has its first origin in nature itself. or any . they reveal this thinking to be intimately shaped by the agent’s character. 7 _________ 5 Throughout. At the same time. it is preceded in some respects by Broadie (1991) and Wiggins (2002a. It comes of an acquired habit. By these lights. however. on Price’s view. 189. to give up the idea that the practically wise person deliberates from a general conception of eudaimonia above and beyond his narrower standing ends.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 215 the phronimos brings nothing more to a situation than an acquired ability to get things right case by case.” “consistency in teaching” and “philosophical comprehension” from its manifestations for fear of inordinate intellectualism. Beyond that. and it is formed and matured by practice and experience. John Henry Newman’s words would still stand as a description of phronêsis. general standing concerns. 7 Newman. any philosophical comprehension of the mutual relations of duty towards duty. and his own judge in those special cases of duty which are personal to him. quoted by Price. 6 As Price notes. he is not rudderless. and it manifests itself. in contrast to the ‘Grand End’ of eudaimonia. and more importantly in Price’s view. practical precepts and ethical generalizations all play a role in ordering his thinking. not in any breadth of view. they also focus the agent’s attention and ensure that what strikes him about the situation is what genuinely matters about the situation. but to propose a different form of resistance to it. These not only provide appropriate goals for action. for one’s standing ends flow from one’s character. but particularly these lines: “The authoritative oracle. 6 I think that Price is too quick.5 So even though. In Price’s view. I shall mean by ‘end’ ( ) the aim or starting-point of deliberation as distinct from its issue in the form of a ‘choice’ ( ). It is seated in the mind of the individual. the phronimos does not begin from a general conception of how to live when deliberating about what to do. that we should treat as the focal point of excellent practical deliberation. one that would solidify the attractions of Price’s picture while squaring it more directly with the central place that Aristotle gives to the achievement of an understanding of the human good within the good human life. At the very least. except that we would no longer exclude “breadth of view. his own teacher. it is this kind of end. This is in many ways an attractive picture. An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (1870). particularly in the way that it avoids attributing to Aristotle a suspiciously modern ‘top-down’ model of practical reason. 2002b). This is not to endorse the Grand End view. the phronimos’ ability to light on the mean is structured by standing ends of a general nature.

(b) the idea that this conception consists in “an explicit. 1144a31-34. in short. 1139b3]. . deciding what ought to be done here and now. but it is a capacity sufficient for the occasion. under these given circumstances.This blueprint of the good guides its possessor in all his deliberations. 9 As it is Broadie. 202-204. The suggestion. 198). First. 1998.216 BRIDGET CLARKE III. ( ) VI 2. ( ) Rhet. The Grand End view represents an interpretation of this claim with two main parts: (a) the idea that a correct conception of eudaimonia figures as the end ( ) of the phronimos’ deliberations. 1214b614. 1140a25-28 and Eudemian Ethics I 2. . it would enable us to take at face value the passages in which Aristotle certainly seems to posit living well in general as the end of deliberation [( ) EN VI 5. and perhaps Price as well. Aristotle cites excellence in deliberation ( ) about what conduces to the good life in general as the principal mark of practical wisdom (EN VI 5. and that the third is preferable: (C1) As the proper end of deliberation. 9 Second. Now I want to suggest. 1366b20-23 and indirectly EN I 12. 1999. has to assume that a number of these passages apply only to the ideal statesman and not to the ground-level practically wise person going about his daily rounds (1991. (C3) As the proper end of deliberation. . taking my lead from McDowell. it would enable us to see practical wisdom as incorporating a synoptic understanding of what is important in human life without imputing to Aristotle what Price terms “an ethics of fantasy” (3). 305. 1140a25-28). that we can make sense of the idea that a correct conception of eudaimonia—living well in general—figures as the end of deliberation without supposing that it takes the form of a comprehensive blueprint. 8 The point of this would be two-fold. substantial vision of [the human] good. 1102a2-3. 1141b13-15 and VI 12. where it is a Grand End as defined above. (C2) As a limiting factor in deliberation. It seems to me that Price’s readings of the pertinent passages in §2 of his paper are perfectly consistent with the third line of interpretation but that _________ consistency in its teachings. where it is not a Grand End. 240-243). in other words. by this given person. but not an end proper. is that we can distinguish the following three ways to conceive of the place of a correct conception of eudaimonia in deliberation. ( ) EN VI 7. we can affirm (a) without affirming (b). comprehensive. . and in terms of it his rational choices can be explained and justified” (Broadie 1991. I 9.” 8 McDowell (1980) and (1996).

COMMENTARY ON PRICE 217 he follows the second line because he falsely assumes that the only way for ‘living well’ to figure as the end of deliberation is for it to figure as a Grand End. what C3 supposes.11 As Price notes. “is what the ‘Grand End’ view supposes. plausibly enough. Moreover. wealth or virtue. for instance.). I would suggest that it rather points us in the direction of an alternative understanding of what it is for a conception of eudaimonia to figure as the end of deliberation. 10 Consider his reading of the opening passage of I 2 of EE. 1219b1-2). this passage certainly seems to support the idea that the practically wise person’s deliberations will be undertaken with a view to eudaimonia where this (or a principal component thereof) is specified in terms such as honor. He proposes instead that the end in question be thought of as a pivotal focus or priority consistent with the pursuit of many narrower ends but always capable of conditioning one’s pursuit of those ends. for. so specified (at least in large measure). There is no ambiguity three pages later when he rejects the suggestion that “a practical syllogism starts from a specification not of some goal of production. it would seem to be an inchoate receptivity at best. _________ 10 This claim may need to be softened in light of revisions Price has made to the version he read at the meeting. not to have ordered one’s life in relation to some end is a mark of extreme folly” and then urges the listener to consider carefully “in which human thing living well consists” (1214b7-13). 1095a17-20 (also EE II 1. 1214a14 Aristotle seems to take it for granted that ‘eudaimonia’ just is ‘living well’ and at 1214a33-1214b5 he implies that it is the greatest good. he seeks to help us to resist the temptation to read EE I 2. for Price has kept passages that place his view much closer to C2. which is eudaimonia. . rather. in essence. 1214b6-14 as “inviting each agent to elaborate for himself a conception of how to live that will then be the starting-point of all his deliberations” (4. 11 Translation by Woods (1992). must be one’s only end. 12 And Price does not actually query this.” “This. This certainly reads like a rejection of idea (a) as well as idea (b). particularly the addition of footnote 28. the alternative I have in mind can readily accommodate Price’s reading of EN VI 12. that the passage gives no grounds for concluding that one’s conception of eudaimonia. especially in view of the emphasis upon “all”—unless we take “elaborate” to indicate something ‘grand’ in the relevant sense. but it is also. Thus. he argues. I want to urge that nothing in this reading need fly in the face of the idea that the agent is deliberating from a general conception of eudaimonia when he pursues these narrower standing ends in his conscientious way. He lays out these same connections more systematically in EN I 1-4. But even if we take these to indicate a receptivity to C3.” he continues.” That is true. original emph. but of the goal of action. 12 At EE I 1. Aristotle says that “everyone who can live according to his own choice should adopt some goal for the fine life … an aim that he will have in view in all his actions. first introducing the idea that actions aim at a highest good in I 1-3 and then identifying this good with ‘eudaimonia’ understood as ‘living well and doing well’ at I 4.

we should understand ‘what is best’ to be situation-specific. where the end is eudaimonia. See Cooper 1986. and (b) its supplement. one would also be seeking to realize another end. in a shape suitable for deduction of particular practical conclusions” (McDowell 1988. suppose one would like to reduce the amount of noise in one’s apartment building. corresponding to two stages in the explanation of an action (1979. or. He might very well tell you that dogs have feelings. cf. For example. as I understand him. as the Grand End could never be. 14 In order to see why this is more than a merely verbal dispute. 1117a1722). one that can be indicated with phrases such as “Live Free or Die” or “Activity in Accordance with the Virtues” but not definitively spelled out. we will treat these explanations as indices of further standing ends of _________ 13 “Codifiable” is a term of art in McDowell’s work meaning (of a principle or end that it is) capable of being “definitively written down. Bostock 2000. If we follow Price.218 BRIDGET CLARKE 1144a31-34. and that there are far better ways to go about this. The suggestion is that in deliberating about how to secure more quiet. The idea is not of course that the practically wise person leads his deliberations with the question ‘So what would living well in general require of me here and now?’ but that a correct view about what living well requires is manifest in the lower-order ends he pursues and in the careful way that he pursues them.” as the Grand End picture requires. 93). 44-45. §5). . The question is how a correct conception of eudaimonia could figure as the end of all the deliberations that display practical wisdom without figuring as a blueprint. living well. I assume that an agent need not have undergone an actual process of deliberation in order for his action to be seen as issuing from deliberation (as in EN III 8. that of having one’s priorities straight when one decides such things. or “codified. one would ipso facto be considering how to answer to one’s sense of what is humanly important quite generally. on Price’s reading. we might conceive of a conception of eudaimonia as a considered sense of what matters. In this passage Aristotle speaks of practical syllogisms as having ‘what is best’ ( ) as their end. too. Broadie 2002. to poison the neighbor’s dog in order to secure peace and quiet. imagine that you pressed the practically wise person about why it is not acceptable. quite apart from the poor dog. 39-40. say. 13 For such a sense to figure as an end of practical deliberation would be for practical deliberation to be stereoscopic in the following way: in considering what to do here and now. And if you pressed him further he could say something about how. this would be a terrible thing to do to the dog’s owner. where the end in question is narrow. 14 McDowell makes this point in terms of the practical syllogism by distinguishing between (a) a core syllogism. 6-10. To start.

‘the big picture. We will begin. For Rowe’s “among practicable goods” ( ). then why not allow that his deliberation was undertaken with a view to eudaimonia as he conceives it? Why banish it to the environs of deliberation? What we are getting when we ask the agent for explanation or justification are windows onto his sense of what matters in a human life quite generally. such as being decent to one’s fellows (and fellow-creatures). 198). Thus we do not deliberate about things brought about purely by chance or by natural processes. the big picture. 16 IV.’ And it would seem that this. to trace how his given end branches out to link up. and so how it is revelatory of his character.” 17 In EN III 3 Aristotle characterizes deliberation in part as the search for means to ends that are within one’s power to bring about. a of deliberation has to be articulable enough to permit a survey of its causal relations (else there would be no way to arrive at the available means). then. 18 Broadie’s principal ground for concluding this is the fact that Aristotle likens deliberation to geometrical analysis. maintaining neighborhood harmony. Price is likely to object to this account on the grounds that. keeping one’s calm in a nerveracking situation. etc.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 219 the agent. He doesn’t have a Grand End. for Aristotle. in a coherent way. or so I would urge. 17 As Broadie puts it: “what can there be to deliberate about when there is no articulable end?” (1991. 18 So Price could very well ac- _________ I borrow this apt phrasing from Richardson 1992. but he gets. in other words. Ross (ROT) has “of things attainable by action” and Irwin (1999) “that is achievable in action. 1112b2015 16 . with all of his other ends. 15 But at this juncture it is important to ask: how does it link up coherently with all of his other ends—in such a way as to avoid routine conflict—if there is no overarching conception of their interrelations? And if there is such a conception. In hearing his explanations. The fact that he cannot press this conception into the mold of a blueprint need not mean that he did not deliberate from it. as we say. All translations from the EN are from Rowe (2002). where one starts with a definite problem (EN III 3. we will begin to see how his deliberation was undertaken with a view to all the other things that he cares about. 358. is precisely what Aristotle wants to keep in play as a kind of focal point when he claims in EN VI 7 that “the person who is without qualification the good deliberator is the one whose calculations make him good at hitting upon what is best for a human being among practicable goods” ( 1141b13-15).

At stake. 306. 19 At the same time.220 BRIDGET CLARKE cept the identification of one's conception of eudaimonia with an uncodifiable sense of what matters. then. What distinguishes an agent as practically wise is the adroitness with which he pursues these less than grand ends. this narrowing of scope does lead to such restrictions when it is coupled with a very familiar view of the division of labor between virtue of character (‘virtue’ for short) and phronêsis. Alternatively. 19 The assumption I am steering clear of here is made by Richard Kraut when he says. such as writing a book … which influence an agent through a stretch of his life” as well as life-long goals. although it might inform deliberation in some other way. In that case. “We may think of periodic ends.) . Price has made clear that the practically wise person’s ends need not be short term or merely circumstantial on his account.’ however one conceives it. They can be something in between the ad hoc end of the sea-captain in a storm who suddenly finds himself needing to jettison his cargo and the everpresent end of ‘living well. She cites further supporting passages in Broadie 1998. (This would be a fourth possible view—to add to those enumerated in §III above—according to which a conception of eudaimonia plays no role in good deliberation. Broadie 1991. such as the pursuit of science (6). we end up with a conception of phronêsis that looks suspiciously akin to a modern instrumentalist conception of reason. on her reading. However. we are swiftly led to a richer notion of deliberation and therewith a conception of phronêsis that is arguably more compelling both textually and philosophically. What does this restriction amount to? Let’s grant that one can deliberate toward comparatively narrow ends without anything in particular following about what it means to deliberate. is the proper understanding of Aristotle’s conception of practi- _________ 25 and VI 8. 236-237). in a thoughtful review of Broadie. does not need a conception of happiness in order to make good decisions” (Kraut 1993. “A practically wise person. 1142a28-29.) And once this more circumscribed view of what it is to deliberate is in place. (I take it that the conjunction of these positions is not fortuitous though I cannot explore this important point here. the narrowing of the scope of phronêsis to limited ends need not entail radical restrictions on the kind of thought represents. 362). if we take it that deliberation proceeds from a conception of eudaimonia and we reject the blueprint picture of a correct conception of eudaimonia. but claim that this equation only offers all the more reason why such a conception could not figure as an end of deliberation.

19). accommodate either view of the matter. this view is consistent with the “search for means” taking a variety of forms. in rule-case reasoning. Vogler (2002). for example. 22 Similarly. then. The question is how to understand this form. we might follow Wiggins and McDowell in distinguishing between means-end calculation. 23 If. specification of an end refers to the determination of what a given end amounts to. 21 Wiggins (2002a) and McDowell (1998b). 22 There is of course ‘component’ (or constitutive) means-end reasoning as well the instrumental species (Greenwood 1908. reading a novel. Even if it should turn out to be wide of the mark. essential to the question of Aristotle’s particularism. my end is ‘resting’ and I know that in order to feel rested I must be in a darkened room with my feet off the ground and an aloe compress over my eyes for at least ten minutes. ch. 23 _________ 20 By ‘instrumentalist’ I mean a conception according to which practical reason is both goal-directed and divisible into separate cognitive and desiderative elements. to take an example from Aristotle. dinner with friends) then my deliberations will center on the question ‘what would resting here and now be?’ . listening to Hank Williams.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 221 cal wisdom and the potential of this conception to provide an alternative to an instrumentalist conception of practical reason. Cf. what it would be to have a coat. as I have understood it. there is no question. then all of my deliberations to this end will concern how to obtain these conditions. 33. But if I don’t initially know what I need to do to feel rested (compare: napping. n. Wiggins (2002a) more or less equates the former with ‘specification’ while McDowell cautions against this (1998b. and means-end calculation is one way. The point I wish to make can. So far. it will serve to get decisive matters on the table. in this case. 21 In one sense. On Price’s view. The sketch is only tentative because it concerns issues in the background of Price’s piece that are. the uncertainty about achieving the end is primarily an uncertainty about what it would be for the end to have been achieved. 20 Let me sketch briefly—and tentatively—how I think Price arrives at what I take to be an overly narrow view of phronêsis. In particular. mutatis mutandis. rule-case reasoning and specification of an end. In contrast. all deliberation has a means-end form (EN III 3). 46-48). Means-end calculation is the determination of means to ends that are settled in the sense that it is clear what it would be for them to be realized. 1. deliberation must be toward an end that is narrower than eudaimonia because only such an end can have sufficiently determinate causal relations to make a search for means a viable project. one subsumes a particular instance under a general rule (‘Keep to the sidewalk’) where it is clear in advance what it would be to have an instance of the rule (or its violation). however.

i. is what the given end of living well requires in these circumstances. or again. in effect. Although he does he not explicitly endorse this division of labor. for lower order ends represent specifications of higher order ends and so on up the chain until one reaches the end of eudaimonia (which Aristotle seems to see as a kind of condition of rational choice as such). for instance. on the grounds that it assigns to deliberation the setting of merely secondary ends. he says. and in n. 25 Since the conceptualization of deliberation as specification presupposes that deliberation entails the setting of ends.g. 1112b11ff. . recovering the Hank Williams CD one loaned out) at which to aim. But I would argue that this is to assume in advance what is in question. say.222 BRIDGET CLARKE It is important to note that conceptualizing deliberation as specification implies that deliberation is as much a process of setting ends as it is of finding means to them. The plurals remind us that any actual deliberation will likely involve numerous sequences of one or the other type of thought—with. to conceive of deliberation as specification is not to rule out means-end calculation or rule-case reasoning. ends which are purely instrumental to the achievement of primary ends.. Aristotle then goes on to note that one will typically need to find means to the means one has settled on (1112b18-19). See also the next note. If we conceive of the setting of secondary ends as an exercise in specification the activity in question need not consist of merely instrumental calculation. it _________ 24 This is bound to appear problematic since Aristotle makes clear both that deliberation presupposes an end and that it seeks to ascertain — that which is ‘toward’ the end—as distinct from the end itself (EN III 2. seeing that this way of breaking the law is far more suitable than the alternatives. getting a hammock. one cannot allow for this way of thinking about deliberation if one considers the setting of ends to be the prerogative of virtue as distinct from phronêsis. until one arrives at what Aristotle calls “the last thing”—the action itself that will satisfy the description “resting” in these particular circumstances (III 3.. that there is nothing to be made of Aristotle’s repeated association of deliberation with means as distinct from ends. 24 To specify what a general end (resting) amounts to is. And this is just what Price appears to do. Thus. the means to one end will itself usually constitute a further end. 25 As this example shows. it is to suppose that. given the end of civil disobedience.e. not in the technical means-end sequel or sequels” (2002a. III 3. one specification leading to further specifications and chains of means-end reasoning interwoven throughout. the possible shapes of deliberative thought. viz. 1113b3). 225). I do not mean to suggest. 1111b27. however. to set more detailed ends (e. it could involve seeing that breaking the law. III 5. however. “the whole interest and difficulty of the matter is in the search for adequate specifications. But note that the distinction between primary and secondary ends begins to dissolve from this point of view. a politician does not deliberate about whether he will produce good public order but about how he will do this (1112b14). as Wiggins puts it. 1112b16-25). It might seem that this does not really tell against the restriction of deliberation to a search for means.. 31 I give some indication of how one might make sense of this association consistent with the account I am sketching. and this implies that deliberation typically involves the setting of some ends—for where there is a chain of interlinked ends. While this sounds decisive.

Here virtue decides on the merits of pursuing a given end in the light of the consequences of so doing. 9 in Price). Accordingly. a lack of sympathy for the means-ends division of labor and a corresponding receptivity to the notion of deliberation as specification. I think it is more likely that the addition is meant simply to stress the interdependence of the tasks assigned to virtue. It supplies the agent with distinctive standing concerns to supplement the common-garden concerns that we all carry around with us. the kinds of discernment that mark out the virtuous person as morally acute versus merely clever will fall outside the purview of practical wisdom.. I discuss a subtle version of this position in the next note. a “search for means” where it is clear in advance what it would be for the end to be realized. This is how he proposes to insure that character is kept in play with respect to deliberation and choice. the realization of his distinctive concerns). I am not sure what to make of the addition of “practical thinking” here. as these are revealed by phronêsis.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 223 is central to his critique of Dancy and generalism alike in §5 that virtue sets the practically wise person’s ends (see also n. to know which ends would be appropriate to pursue here and now will not have any place in Price’s picture. i. and acceptably pursuable in the situation. It lends salience to certain aspects of a situation (those which invite. deliberation will be confined to means-end calculation or rule-case reasoning. contrary to what I have been suggesting. while leaving the division of labor between them relatively intact.2. it is difficult to see why Price won’t allow that a conception of eudaimonia can serve as a telos of deliberation. and phronêsis. These kinds of sensitivity will. It could indicate. 27 My concern is that this would appear to leave nothing for practical wisdom to do but to light on the best means to ends that are set independently by virtue. added). emph. 27 I quote from the version of Price’s essay given to me as final. but it does mean that they will not be part of phronêsis proper. It determines that the goal selected is both generally acceptable. 16. n. 28 A more nuanced account of the division of labor Price probably has in mind is provided in Broadie 2002. To the extent that one accepts this division of labor. 49-50. He provides a summary of the 19th and early 20th century debate about the respective roles of virtue and phronêsis on 177. on the other. To this extent. according to Price. or endanger. This does not mean that the kinds of sensitivity to one’s circumstances that figure in specification and enable one. In that case. crucially. an agent’s search for means can result in the modification or even rejection of the end that . It has just come to my attention that in the version to be published Price has changed the first sentence of this passage to “The roles of the virtues of character and of practical thinking are multiple and interconnected” (p.e. 28 _________ 26 Fortenbaugh (1969) sets out this basic view in opposition to a rationalistic reading of the Ethics. on the one hand. need to be supplied by virtue: 26 Virtue’s roles are multiple and inter-connected.

The key to the alternative version of particularism lies in the idea that an end may figure in deliberation even though it is not possible to formulate the end definitively in advance of its application. 29 Taken together. starting with Aristotle’s definition of virtue in terms of practical wisdom (EN II 6. but that is not the most plausible reading. as well as for a more general end _________ initially set deliberation in motion. given the question ‘how can I achieve end y?’ the capacity designated ‘phronêsis’ delivers the same (factual) report that the capacity designated ‘cleverness’ ( ) would deliver. these passages fit with Aristotle’s claim that deliberation concerns . the report will go on to be assessed in the light of exacting moral standards while in the latter case it will not. 106-107. not ends themselves. There is a sense in which ends are no longer set independently by virtue on this account. 249. 1142b31-33). The basis for the different designations is that in the former case. See Irwin 2000. 376. Kenny 1979. However. In turn. since in evaluating hypothetical ends virtue relies upon factual information provided by phronêsis. In addition. Broadie (2002). this more expansive view of deliberation is at the heart of a version of particularism that suffers none of the defects Price finds in Dancy’s version. McDowell 1998b. there are passages that make real trouble for this understanding of the relation between virtue and phronêsis. n.224 BRIDGET CLARKE It must be admitted that this division of labor is consistent with wellknown passages in which Aristotle credits virtue with making the ends correct and phronêsis with making the means to the end correct (EN VI 12. these suggest a far wider scope to practical wisdom and the activity of deliberation at which it excels than Price’s reading allows. 17. 31. . it is not clear why virtue would be a state that chooses with reference to (a standard set by) the practically wise person if the latter were merely good at calculating the means to ends set independently by virtue. V. 29 It is possible to read this passage as reaffirming the assignment of phronêsis to means only. 1106b361107a2). 1144a7-9. if I have understood Broadie. VI 13. cf. 1145a5-6). Indeed. Aristotle seems n at least one occasion to equate practical wisdom with a true conception of the end (VI 9. But. This allows for the midlevel standing ends Price highlights. Within this broader scope there may well be room for deliberation to take as its end nothing less than ‘living well’ itself while maintaining a distinctively particularist alternative to the Grand End picture. It seems to me there is a significant respect in which phronêsis understood in this way does not rise above cleverness. it remains the case that the work of making crucial moral assessments is for virtue alone.

23 above. be means to-cumspecifications of that final end. and acts done to fulfill moral laws will generally be related to positive precepts in this way. §41. and the replenishment of the house water-supply. is at some spatial distance from the act of pumping” (Intention. So virtue of character and practical wisdom do not operate independently on this alternative. Of course the phronimos will almost always have a relatively narrow end in view. For example. second emphasis added). for where deliberation toward an end is a matter of inquiring into what it would be for the end to be realized. But it conceives both orders of ends in such a way that the ability to see what would count as realizing them in any given case may well require a special sensitivity to particulars. with the one setting the ends for the other to pursue. but these ends will be activated (when they are. based on the kind of person he is. more precisely. there is no way to specify the end except through its application. §5). the kind of sensitivity Aristotle seems to identify with practical wisdom when he likens it to a perceptual capacity (EN VI 8.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 225 above and beyond them that explains their interconnections. manifest in the way one reads the details of situations. this just is the capacity to deliberate well. There is no blueprint here. This view will make sense only if we can speak of an agent deliberating toward a conception of eudaimonia even when it is not possible to identify the content of that conception without recourse to the particular applications the agent makes of it (McDowell 1996. . ‘resting’ is merely a wider description of what I am perhaps doing lying on my bed. and the immediate action is calculated as the way of getting or doing or securing the thing wanted. it is this capacity that enables the phronimos to read from the specifics of his situation which standing end is appropriate to pursue now. 1142a23-30. there are different kinds of distance between end and action that deliberation can bridge. They _________ 30 In other words. I have obviously exploited her example of resting in n. Anscombe put the idea this way: “The mark of practical reasoning is that the thing wanted is at a distance from the immediate action. in the way that they are) in the light of his conception of eudaimonia. They will. and what would count as best realizing that end. and an independently articulable end speaks to only one of those kinds of distance. whereas getting [into power] the good government is remote in time from the act of pumping. This is the natural counterpart to the thesis of specification. the uncodifiability of the end leaves it to the agent to make the relevant specifications in the very way that he conceives his circumstances. VI 11 1143a25-b5 and 1143b13-14). Now it may be at a distance in various ways. while very little distant in time. but there is a synoptic vision directing the specific choices.30 It should be emphasized that deliberation construed along these lines is keyed to the character of the agent. On the particularist account I have been sketching.

. Such a person is someone who gets it right case by case. In the first place. the “broad range of sensitivities” that enable _________ 31 McDowell 1998b. Burnyeat (1980) elaborates this developmental view. this may seem unremarkable. But the more extended of Dancy’s remarks acknowledges the influence of McDowell in a footnote. Cf. 16). it would be a serious mistake to read the particularist interpretation of Aristotle as advancing the kind of “exclusively cognitivist” picture that worries Price in §5 (p. There are at least two points that Aristotle could be making (consistent with this account) when he advances the means-end division of labor. 23) In fact. Since Price directs the worry at two remarks by Dancy (quoted on p. this would be to gloss ‘virtue sets the ends’ as ‘we acquire correct ends only with the right kinds of practice in our formative years’. he could be stressing that one cannot have phronêsis (understood as the capacity to discern what living well requires here and now) unless one has had the requisite upbringing. To have the relevant sensitivities just is to be able to get things right case by case. 1144a36) as underlining that nothing less than the ongoing practice of virtuous acts is necessary to preserve one’s grasp of the correct ends (Sorabji 1980. we need to have a broad range of sensitivities. It is noteworthy that Aristotle emphasizes both of these points in the final chapter of the EN (X 9) stressing that nothing short of habituation through proper upbringing can bring about goodness and that nothing short of continued habituation to good deeds through proper legislation can insure its preservation. 213). 31 Accordingly. To be so consistently successful. 1178a1620). I think it is highly unlikely that Dancy himself was advancing the kind of rationalistic picture that worries Price in the passage that he examines. One might worry that this picture fails to find an appreciable role for virtue and so to make good sense of Aristotle’s distinction between virtue and phronêsis. and we do not mistake its relevance either. moral education is the key. . As Aristotle held.226 BRIDGET CLARKE rather represent different aspects of the same ability to respond appropriately—in the right way. for the right reason—to whatever happens (EN VI 8. (McDowell 1996. But that is all there is to say on the matter. 14 of Price). §§6 and 11. And the answer is that for us it is probably too late. there is nothing for grasp of the content of the universal to be except a capacity to read the details of situations in the light of a way of valuing actions in which proper upbringing has habituated one. and its wording closely resembles McDowell’s claim that. Both points suggest that practical excellence is the outcome of a lifelong process of development that is at once desiderative and intellectual. §IV and Vasiliou 1996. 1142a23-30 in conjunction with VI 9. 32 For in that passage. 32 Namely: “Our account of the person on whom we can rely to make sound moral judgements is not very long. These passages could equally well be read (in conjunction with VI 5. esp. esp. for Aristotle. The only remaining question is how we might get into this enviable state. Cooper 1996. so that no relevant feature escapes us. This blocks the thought that mere argument or an exercise of spontaneous rational intuition could account for the development of phronêsis (ibid. 1140b11-20 and VI 12. 1142b31-33 and X 8. 31-32).

If my reading of Dancy is correct. he is in fact endorsing the social attitudes that have fixed the exten- _________ for those who are past educating. I take it he has in mind something akin to general propositions that specify morally relevant considerations across contexts. p. Price argues for the idea that these prohibitions are not tautological on the grounds that the extension of a concept such as ‘murder’ is informed by social attitudes (about. e. theft and murder absolutely (EN II 6.g. In contrast to Dancy’s version of particularism. It does this by supposing that the consistently correct application of a principle (that of eudaimonia.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 227 one to “get things right case by case” are the precipitate of a moral education as conceived by Aristotle.) It is with this more familiar conception of moral principle that I will be working in the next section. he does seem to proscribe adultery. it means that when Dancy rejects the idea that principles have any role to play in moral thought. This suggests that Dancy’s point is that we should equate good character with such sensitivities. 33 VI. Along the way. I want to indicate briefly how this form of particularism can readily build on Price’s arguments to elucidate the place of exceptionless principles and features of unvarying valence in the Ethics. 33 If this is right. 1107a8-15). when Aristotle endorses these principles. (See Dancy 1993. not that such sensitivities might exist in the absence of good character. just is good character. 76. in the final instance) requires the correctly formed dispositions that comprise good character. 66-72. I shall make some further observations about Price’s analysis. quoted by Price. the question at issue is whether there is anything but character. . In the space that remains.14).. And we know that the outcome of a successful moral education. to direct judgment. in Aristotle’s view. Although Aristotle holds that substantive practical principles hold only ‘for the most part’ ( ) (EN I 3. then (contra Price) nobody on the particularist side of things is suggesting that good judgment proceeds in the absence of character. 2004. he is working with a narrower conception of principle than simply a ‘general notion’ (which I introduced in §II above). the version I have sketched makes room for character and for principles that offer guidance from without in its account of judgment. 1094b21). 64. there is no real remedy” (Dancy 1993. on Price’s view. with its general standing concerns. Accordingly. mitigating circumstances) that may be unwarranted.

and z—is wrong. What are the implications of interpreting these prohibitions to be as tautologous as they appear? Price’s comments suggest that such an interpretation may encourage one to attribute to Aristotle some implausible views. as e. A review of his words in context may be helpful. I would suggest. 1107a8-15) He seems. Since Aristotle does not make use of the notion of a description under which an action can be evaluated. 34 Thus even if. But this view need not follow. for all these. . I see no implication one way or the other about whether the dominant views about what counts as murder. this is a possible interpretation of his meaning. fornication. (EN II 6. He is saying not merely ‘murder is wrong’ but ‘murder—understood as the taking of life in circumstances x. clearly. but only to go astray. absolute principles on their own could never suffice to account for the virtuous person’s knowledge of how to act in particular cases (1998b. shamelessness. and it is not a commitment of the particularist reading of Aristotle that I have defended. in Aristotle’s view. then. 27. He has just defined virtue as a mean state and is warning (those looking for a pretty big loophole. or adultery (however we see the role of convention in fixing the ex- _________ 34 McDowell makes the further point that. But I see virtually no evidence that Aristotle actually takes this view of these principles. by Aristotle’s lights.. is two-fold. and in the case of actions.228 BRIDGET CLARKE sion of the concept just where it has been fixed. theft. nor does every affection. First is the idea that even absolute principles may require discrimination for their correct application on occasion. it does not follow that it is always easy to know when something counts as murder. y. for in some cases they have been named in such a way that they are combined with badness from the start. Presumably. or deficient ones—are bad. including the view that moral judgments must always be difficult. n.’ Only the former is a tautology.g. What that reading is committed to. with malice. 9). It is not possible. etc. owe their names to the fact that they themselves—not excessive versions of them. murder is always wrong. and others like them. it would seem) that we should not conclude from his definition that all actions admit of a mean. grudging ill-will. Aristotle thinks these views—like the endoxa generally— should be accepted only insofar as they hold up under the distinctive kind of critical scrutiny he applies throughout the Ethics. ever to get it right with affections and actions like these. should be accepted. theft. to be affirming that certain kinds of action and affect really are ill-advised in all circumstances and that this is built into the very concepts of them. Not every action admits of intermediacy. murder.

whether Euthyphro’s father murdered the servant. as Newman does when he states that the individual must be his own law and judge “in those special cases of duty which are personal to him” (quoted in Price. that pleasure will have invariant valence” (12).) Second is the idea that the requisite discrimination will often depend on excellence of character—it won’t be something to which the nasty person. 37 Thus the definitive measure of correctness in moral matters is the good man ( ) (EN 1 8. fact about such features and the reasons they constitute (2000. this is the thesis of ‘reason holism’ (1993. 2004. negative and positive. 36 But this line of thought does not thereby support the idea that. “all policies and decisions. the fact that an action causes pleasure can be a reason not to undertake it. as Price puts it. that “once we have described some good and enjoyable activity sufficiently to identify what pleasure is taken in it by the agent. 1176a15-19). but only insofar as they are indexed to activities of distinct but fixed valence. 136-137). the consistently ‘pro’ valence of an activity and its supervening pleasure cannot imply that one should always perform actions that embody that activity. 1). ch. 35 36 37 . EN V 9. This sounds right. not logical. 38 Accordingly. It must depend on whether it is ‘good’ to be undertaking this _________ Cf. as he puts it. can lay claim. It suggests rather that hard cases can crop up anywhere—in contexts of justice as well as friendship—and that when they do. are difficult” (11). 39 This means. 1113a31-33. but the particularist will hasten to point out that it does nothing to fix the value of a given pleasure for deliberative purposes. X 5. even when its victim is innocent and unwilling (1993. III 4. one’s ability to judge will be conditioned for better or worse by the character one has. For one. 1137a5ff. EN V 10 suggests that Aristotle does not see issues of justice as conforming to universals anymore than anything else in the sphere of action so conforms. 65-66. 1099a22-24. Dancy claims that the same feature can count for or against an action depending upon the circumstances. for instance. Price makes the point that for Aristotle pleasures do vary in their valence. See n. It is significant that this way of thinking about principles gives us no reason to restrict cases which may require special discernment to the sphere of the merely personal.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 229 tensions of the terms). 35 (It’s hard to say. 38 Elsewhere Dancy concedes the possibility of features of invariant valence with the proviso that the invariance be understood as an incidental. 7 above for more of the passage. 39 Aristotle attributes to activities different levels of ‘purity’ at EN X 5. 208-209). Now consider moral variability. and the fact that an action causes pain does not necessarily tell against it. 1176a1-3. however clever. 4).

however clever she might be. 158-160). See Annas (1980) and Gottlieb (1991).230 BRIDGET CLARKE activity here and now. we are not impartial judges of the activities we enjoy. a grief to us and our children” (Iliad III. EE II 10. . and the judgment of them lies in our perception” (1109b24). It seems clear from the example that the pleasures that impede a good activity may be good in themselves. By nature. 1227b3-4. 42 Aristotle distinguishes between pleasures that are good without qualification ( ) and those that are good only under certain conditions ( ) (EN VII 12. then.” the way people try to straighten warped pieces of wood (1109b5-6). 43 “Terrible is the likeness of her face to immortal goddesses/Still. This vulnerability in our make-up leads Aristotle to formulate some stringent practical principles in EN II 9: we should consider the things we enjoy and then “drag ourselves away in the contrary direction. 41 How one develops this line of thought will obviously affect how one makes sense of EN X 6-8. Even more emphatically. To do that. 41 And according to Aristotle. 1235b26-29). 1113a35-b2. “for such things depend on the particular circumstances. . one would need to provide evidence that these fixtures simplify the deliberative search in such a way as to obviate the need for a special sensitivity to the specifics of one’s situation. 40 The pleasures of contemplation are best. pleasure is an “apparent good” (EN III 4. let her go away in the ships. Thus qualified. 1152b27). but they should probably not be enjoyed at a meal. the kind of sensitivity that will elude the nasty person. cf. it is no easy matter to know when one’s activities are genuinely good in the first place. 42 We think they are good because they give us pleasure. 43 He then follows this advice with the famous caveat that the right relationship is not easy to achieve. he urges his audience to regard pleasure as the elders of Troy regarded Helen “and repeat on every occasion what they uttered” (1109b9-11). . the notion that Aristotle assigns invariant valences to pleasures poses no threat to the particularist reading of Aristotle. Thus “lovers of pipe-music are incapable of paying attention to a discussion if they happen to hear someone playing the pipes. MA 700b29. lest/she be left behind. EE VII 2. So the pleasure in pipe-playing destroys the activity of discussion” (1175b3-5). _________ 40 In EN X 5 Aristotle notes that pleasures which are “proper to” one activity may impede the performance of another activity to which a different set of pleasures are proper. though she be such.

The challenge is to conceive of that understanding properly. it allows us (contra Newman) to credit the phronimos with a “breadth of view.COMMENTARY ON PRICE 231 VII. 44 To locate that comprehensive understanding. with a sensitivity textual and philosophical.” a “consistency” in outlook and a “philosophical comprehension” of moral requirements that is surely a desideratum of any practical agent. I am also indebted to Sarah Broadie and John McDowell for valuable conversation about these topics. 45 WILLIAMS COLLEGE _________ 44 In keeping with EN I 3 I take it that the ‘philosophical comprehension’ at issue would not involve anything more theoretical than Aristotle provides in the Ethics and might well involve something less. I have suggested. of character) is. At the same time. Paul Muench. 45 I am grateful to Sarah Broadie. Price has defended a conception of practical wisdom in Aristotle’s Ethics that seeks to incorporate the insights of both particularism and generalism while avoiding their respective pitfalls. Jennifer Whiting and James Wilberding for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Put another way. but he does need a general understanding of the human good if his ability to act well whatever the circumstances is not to seem mysterious. The phronimos does not need a fantastic master plan that anticipates all of life’s vicissitudes. Amélie Rorty.. My critical suggestion has been that a modified answer to the first of the four questions he raises can help to bring into view a sense of particularism that is well developed in the literature on the Ethics and that complements the essentials of his answers to the other three questions. it is to miss an opportunity to see how an excellence of reason in the practical sphere might encompass far more than instrumental reasoning. as Price does. to accept a markedly narrow view of deliberation and its signature excellence. . in a separately conceived virtue (viz. That challenge is both the origin and promise of a truly Aristotelian particularism.

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” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 78 (1978) 87-101. He points out that the soul is the principle of life. hearing. V. Ithaca 1981: 55-67. JOHANSEN Inner sense theory holds that we are conscious of our own perceptions by virtue of further perceptions which have those first perceptions as their object. 2. In my interpretation of Aristotle. We need therefore to understand the different faculties first in order to _________ 1 It may also be thought that inner sense theory claims the inner sense is distinct or separate from the “outer” senses (sight. 1 Aristotle. while countering some of these criticisms. most notably by Aryeh Kosman and Victor Caston. .2 425b12-25 which supports a version of inner sense theory.2 In Book II. Armstrong. Locke and Kant are traditionally taken to be inner sense theorists. 2 D. By calling the theory one of “inner sense” it is implied that the faculty responsible for second-order perception is itself perceptual. 2 As an interpretation of Aristotle. 3 In this paper. Lycan. I present a new reading of the central passage at DA III. I shall not take this claim to be an essential element of inner sense theory: as we shall see the sense responsible for second-order perception and the sense responsible for first-order perception are not separate. H.COLLOQUIUM 7 IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE: ARISTOTLE ON PERCEIVING THAT ONE SEES THOMAS K. and so on). There are. and Hugh Mellor have advocated similar views. Chapter 2 of the DA. A. say. William Lycan. Setting the Context for DA III.” The Philosophical Review 84 (1975) 499-519. different ways for different living beings to be alive. inner sense theory has been criticized in recent years. Consciousness and Experience. rather than. Kosman. 1996. Some living beings have some capacities or faculties (dunameis) which others do not. intellectual. Caston. with the difference that whereas first-order perception is (normally) directed at external objects. while more recently David Armstrong.” in The Nature of Mind. Mellor. “Conscious Belief.” Mind 111 (2002) 751815. however. “What is Consciousness. Such second-order perception is understood in parallel with firstorder perception. “Perceiving That We Perceive: On the Soul III. 3 L. “Aristotle on Consciousness. second-order perception has as its object one’s own perceptual states. Aristotle sets out the agenda for his psychology. W.

12-13) on why the various faculties belong to different kinds of living being. let it have been defined in this manner. and conclusion. Aristotle explains why we need several senses capable of perceiving the common sensibles. nutrition is tackled in Book II. He then argues the related point that there is no special perception of the common sensibles.1 Aristotle undertakes first to show the adequacy of the five senses to perceiving the various kinds of special sensible. etc. The work ends with two chapters (III. by which the five senses are united. having accounted for the adequacy of the five senses to perceiving the proper sensibles and the distinctness of proper perception from common perception. Moreover.9-11). Thus Aristotle ends Chapter 2 by saying “concerning the principle (arkhê) by which we say that the animal is capable of perceiving. but only by the soul itself. as we shall see. The aim of Aristotle’s argument is to show that these phenomena are perceptual.1. III.2 and the beginning of III. Finally. however.4-11 Aristotle accounts further for the capacities of intellect (III.3 mark a break from the account of the senses to that of the other faculties. locomotion and the intellect (nous). Plato in the Theaetetus had used the difference between sensibles as an example of the sort of object that could not be grasped by perception. In Book III.” . First. lies in the common sense.) and 2) perceiving the difference between the special sensibles. Books II and III thus seem to be structured according to the plan of explaining each of the capacities that are characteristic of the different kinds of living being. with a conclusion showing why these capacities are required or beneficial for those kinds of being. The answer to the question. they can therefore be explained by reference to the perceptual faculties. in relation both to the proper sensibles and the common sensibles. need to consider how the five senses are related such that they can perceive objects beyond those available to them as special senses. The two main phenomena to be accounted for are 1) perceiving that we see and hear (and smell. we do not need to posit further sense faculties than the five already acknowledged for us to explain how living beings can engage in these activities. sense-perception.4-8) and locomotion (III. The end of III. of III. and hence no requirement for a further special sense for these sensibles. such as white and sweet. How do they fit into the plan of the work? In III. The rest of the DA consequently accounts for the faculties that distinguish the major life forms: nutrition.236 THOMAS K. JOHANSEN understand the different kinds of soul. I read III. which is meant to show how the five senses are sufficient to account for other perceptual phenomena.2 as a continuation. We do.4. I have not yet mentioned the first three chapters of book III of the DA.1 has thus given us a defence both of the adequacy and the necessity of the five senses. then each of the five senses receives a chapter in the rest of Book II.

he thinks.” Phronesis 41. or quasi-perceptual. On this point many of his predecessors.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 237 Chapters 1-2 have thus dealt with the last issues required here in order to define the principle of perception. Since the explanatory power of this kind of theory comes in large measure from positing simple causes for complex behavior. We may see this stage of the DA as motivated by a concern with explanatory economy that is characteristic of what is commonly known as “faculty psychology. each of these activities clearly defines a distinct faculty. as well as cases where he struggles to maintain the unity of a sense-faculty (especially that of touch. However. We see the principle at work when Aristotle shows that the cognition of common and accidental sensibles should be seen as an exercise of the perceptual faculty.1 (1996) 1-19. no.4-5. “Aristotle on the Sense of Smell. which. Aristotle does this by showing the distinction of the intellect first from perception: unlike the activities considered in III.4-5. by which Aristotle clearly means the faculty of perception.1-2 thinking cannot be understood as an exercise of the perceptual faculty. cf. Here Aristotle seems to have already assumed that there are five distinct sense faculties.4 415a18-20).1-3. not all activities of the soul serve to define distinct faculties. When accounting for the faculties Aristotle takes his starting point in their activities: the activity of a faculty is definitionally prior to the faculty (dunamis) (DA II. 4 He has already decided. However. Aristotle claims. makes the other senses dependent on touch (cf. DA II. . activities with a view not to defining further distinct sense faculties but rather to showing how the sense faculties already accounted for in Book II are sufficient for explaining these activities. we find Aristotle considering a range of perceptual. when the activities of phantasia are explained as movements arising from percep- _________ 4 Aristotle is highly critical of the atomist view. The main business of Chapter 3 is to prepare the account of the intellect in III.” Aristotle wants to show how a variety of psychological phenomena can be explained by reference to a few fundamental faculties. K. De Sensu 5 with T. Let me end this section by stressing the importance of seeing Aristotle’s discussion of perceiving that we see within his thinking about the faculties. So the intellect is a distinct faculty of cognition. the guiding principle is: no faculties beyond necessity. On the other hand. De Sensu 3 440a). nor can intellectual thought be assimilated to belief or phantasia. in Book III. However. In the case of the perceptual activities considered in Book II.11 422b18-34). were wrong. hearing. seeing. it seems. cf. Johansen. as in the case of taste and smell. there are cases where Aristotle himself struggles to differentiate the senses. when he considers the activity of seeing that this activity will serve to define sight as a faculty distinct from the other senses. requiring separate discussion in III. smelling and so forth.

.D. 5 _________ 5 In the Greek of W. but not in the same way. Aristotle worries about this activity partly because it threatens to generate an infinite regress of faculties. But there is a puzzle (aporia): for if [b17] perceiving by sight is seeing. [b16] so that we should do this in the case of the first [sense]. The discussion in DA III. Translation and Analysis of III.2 I translate the key passage at DA III. . we discriminate both darkness and [b21] light by sight. and when belief is shown to be an exercise of the intellect. JOHANSEN tion. it is clear that perceiving by sight is not one thing. for even [b20] when we are not seeing.Ross’s 1961 edition: .2 425b12-25 as follows: Since we perceive that we see and hear. then either it will go on to infinity or some sense will be of itself. and color or what [b18] has color is seen. it is necessary [b12] that one perceives that one sees either by sight (opsis) or by some other [sense].238 THOMAS K. clearly a faculty psychologist’s nightmare.2 should be read in this context. That is why perceptions (aisthêseis) and appearances (phantasiai) are present in the sense organs [b24] even when the sense objects have departed. if indeed the sense that is of sight were different [b15]. And furthermore. what sees is actually (kai) colored in a way [b22]: for the sense organ is in each case receptive of the sense object without [b23] the matter. then what first sees [or the first thing that sees] [b19] will also have color. . As we shall see. . rather the senses that we have already been introduced to in Book II will be shown to be adequate to the task. . Aristotle here takes his starting point in the activity of perceiving that we see and hear and asks what faculty explains how we engage in this activity. . But the same [sense] will be [b13] of sight and the underlying color. Perhaps the culmination of the drive to economy is Aristotle’s attempt to group together even the perceptual and the intellectual faculties in a single discerning faculty (427a17-21). Moreover. . However. . . . so that either there will be two [senses] [b14] of the same thing or it [the sense] will be of itself. [then] if something is going to see what sees (to horôn). and hence at least indirectly as activities of the perceptual faculty. . Aristotle attempts to settle the worry by showing that we do not need another sense faculty—let alone an infinite regress—in order to explain our ability to perceive that we see.

_________ . but if so. Aporia defused: a) There is another way of seeing by sight than seeing colors. . Inferences: if 2 A). Inference: 6 The same sense will be of both i) sight and ii) color. Clearly a number of further premises would have to be supplied with every new inference step to make the argument deductively valid. Further inferences: if 2 B). or b) some sense will be of itself. 5. Premise: We perceive that we see. 6 . best that the sense that is of itself is sight. either a) for each perception that one is perceiving there will be another sense by which one perceives that perception. . . 3. in which case there will be an infinite regress of senses. there is an aporia: sight is of color or what has color [cf. . sight will be of itself (by 3 i)). But not a). But if 2 A). . I shall then provide a more detailed interpretation. if 2 B). the sense-organ receives the form]. it is worth marking in this outline how Aristotle presents the structure of the argument by means of words such as . Nonetheless. That is why the perceptions and phantasiai can remain in the senseorgans to be perceived later. if what sees (to horôn) is seen. DA II. 4. b) What sees is in a way colored since the sense-organ receives the sense-object without its matter [i.7 418a29].e. If b). it too must have color. Interpretative note: 3) applies to both options 2) A) and B) above. so b).IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 239 I start by offering a brief analysis of the argument. The distinction between steps marked here as “premise” and “inference” is pretty loose. 1. 2. Inference: Therefore it is either A) by sight that we perceive that we see or B) by another sense. 6. for when it is dark we discern by sight that we are not seeing. so 2 A). two senses will have the same object (=color by 3 ii)).

However. or even that we always perceive that we see when we see. where the alternatives are “by sight (opsis)” or “by another. We therefore need to consider the passage almost line-by-line to achieve any clarity and conviction. I take it that it is significant that Aristotle says that we perceive that we see and hear. such as seeing and hearing. Osborne. so the soul is [actuality] as sight (opsis) and the potentiality.2: How Do We Perceive That We See And Hear.1 412b27413a2. De Anima 3. “Aristotle. I shall have more to say about this subject later. in other cases there are not.” Classical Quarterly 33 (1983) 401-411. rather than that we perceive that we perceive. none of the examples cited by Bonitz are from the DA and other passages in the DA make it more likely that Aristotle has the potentiality of sight in mind rather than its actuality. Aristotle says that in some cases there are distinct words for the actuality of the sense-object and the sense-faculty. 7 . says “as waking is actuality in the manner of cutting and seeing (horasis). neither is mentioned as a premise of the argument here. Aristotle is not saying that we necessarily perceive that we see when we see. but in the case of vision there is only a distinct word for the actuality of sight. So even if passages elsewhere are taken to imply either of these claims. B13. The distinction is first made at DA II.240 THOMAS K. as Bonitz’s Index Aristotelicus shows. On at least three occasions in DA Aristotle draws an explicit contrast between opsis meaning the faculty or potentiality of sight and horasis meaning the actuality of sight. some thirty Bekker lines after the passage we are considering. Secondly.2 426a12-15. JOHANSEN Detailed Interpretation The interpretation of this passage is disputed at almost every turn. wanting to define the soul as a potentiality. where Aristotle.” I translate opsis here as sight. the phrasing suggests an interest in the question of how we are aware of perceiving with specific sense-modalities. The question of how we perceive that we see is presented as a question of “by what?” we perceive that we see. and not one for _________ As emphasized by C. 7 Aristotle’s phrasing does not imply (nor of course does it exclude) an interest in general perceptual awareness.” Again at DA III. Aristotle first presents the phenomenon to be explained: we perceive that we see and hear. at 406. So sounding (psophêsis) and hearing (akousis) indicate the activity of the sense-object and the sense-faculty respectively. Rather. The necessity mentioned in b12 is the necessity of the consequence rather than of the consequent. B12. “Seeing” in the sense of the act of seeing would be a possible alternative.

The conclusion that the same sense will be of sight and of the underlying color follows whether or not it is by sight that one perceives that one sees or by another sense. it is quite unlikely that he would use the word “opsis” unmarked. dunamis. 9 If Aristotle meant to refer to the actuality of sight at DA III. 3. “The restriction to cases where there is a distinct sense is not actually in Aristotle’s text. that is.cit. Aisthêsis is more likely both because we were told at b12 that we perceive that we see and because the alternative at b13 is that one perceives by sight that one sees. The elliptical reference to aisthêsis by “another” is understandable in extension of the discussion in DA III. 10 However.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 241 that of color: “for seeing (horasis) is said to be the actuality of sight (opsis). Moreover. and horasis to mean its actuality. it is not immediately clear what the complement of “another” would be: the feminine suggests aisthêsis or. But if there is a sense for both sight and the azure color of the sky. the further implications of _________ I am grateful to Michael Pakaluk for stressing the significance of this passage to me. 765.] there will be a sense for both sight and the azure color of the sky. 2. As far as the alternative “by another” ( ) is concerned.33) that. But there cannot be two senses that have azure as their object.3 428a6-7 Aristotle draws the explicit distinction between opsis as the dunamis and horasis as the actuality of seeing.cit. then there will be two senses that have azure as their object. then. he assumes that the reader is so familiar with the difference between opsis and horasis that the terms themselves can on their own be used to convey the distinction between potentiality and actuality. Caston argues. Caston op. but 8 9 . Indeed. possibly.2 425b13. No sense other than sight is involved. However. [If a sense other than sight is involved. B14-15. Therefore.9 1050a24-25 makes it clear that Aristotle would generally expect his readership to understand opsis to mean the faculty of sight. it is unclear why he saddles the capacity reading with the mistaken construal of (1). Metaphysics IX. n.1 showed the adequacy of the five senses.1 of why we have the aisthêseis we do and neither more nor fewer. 4. 10 So also Osborne op. once we provide the reference we can see why Aristotle would raise this question after this discussion. 765 reconstructs the argument at 425b1315 on the capacity reading as follows: 1. 401.” 8 And again at DA III. the question that now arises is: do we need more senses to account for our ability to perceive that we see and hear? This question is at its most pointed when we envisage the possibility of an infinite regress of senses at b16. that the tension between 1 and 3 is too great to make it plausible that anybody could subscribe to both. These passages strongly suggest that we should take “the capacity of sight” to be the default meaning of opsis in the DA. since he himself notes (op. the contrast is between perceiving this by sight and perceiving it by some other faculty of the sort by which we perceive.cit. DA III.

Caston argues. the sense will not only have sight as its object but also the underlying color that is sight’s object. 11 There are two important difficulties raised by the passage. There are. as Victor Caston and others have pointed out. we may say that the sense of sight sees itself. he talks repeatedly in this passage.cit. JOHANSEN this conclusion differ in the two cases. In the first case it will be by sight that we perceive sight. But. of the sense faculty perceiving. . 414a5-12). to avoid a change of reference between the pronoun “it” and the reflexive “itself” we had better take Aristotle to mean that the activity of sight sees itself. and the reflexive pronoun precludes it entirely. Therefore it follows that there will be a sense that is “of itself” (autê hautês). In the second case. .” 11 It is Aristotle’s considered view that it is more correct to say that we perceive color by sight rather than that our sight perceives color (cf. In the second case there will therefore be two senses with color as its object: sight and the sense that perceives sight. that “I see myself. cf. Similarly. in this case the activity of seeing.” When we say. however.” we do not necessarily mean that the respect with which I see is the same as the respect with which I am seen. 768). special cases of reflection of the sort highlighted by Socrates in Alcibiades _________ is supplied by many translations and commentaries . the expression should imply that the sense of sight is of itself in that it perceives itself. for example. The first concerns the expression “it of itself. me. To read an alternation within this phrase would be too harsh. of course. . that we perceive that we see—which is neutral between the options Aristotle is considering. but one should be aware of Aristotle’s own reservations with this idiom. and elsewhere. In this argument. b16). I shall follow Aristotle in repeatedly referring to the sense faculty perceiving below. concern the question “by which capacity do we perceive that we see and hear?” but rather the question “by which activity do we perceive that we see and hear?” However. The translations of Hicks and Smith are more faithful to the text: they represent the inference as following instead from the initial premise—namely.242 THOMAS K.” On the reading I have given. DA 408b11-15. Aristotle must be speaking either solely of capacities or solely of activities” (Caston op. as traditionally thought.” as he puts it. So. . Presumably he thinks that such talk can always be appropriately rephrased into talk of us perceiving. Having a change of reference within the phrase would be “too harsh. what is seen is strictly speaking not the sense of sight but the activity of seeing a color. 12 “‘it [will be] of itself’ ( . 12 This point in turn supports Caston’s overall argument that the passage as whole does not. then. b15. Caston’s point relies on an artificially narrow idea of how to read reflexive expressions such as “seeing oneself. Nevertheless. when it sees something that belongs to it. I may see my arms with my eyes and we would still be right to say that I see myself because both the eyes and the arms belong to the same thing.

both sight and color have to be perceived by the sense by which we perceive that we see color. Aristotle De Anima. 15 A special sense is defined by its exclusive ability to perceive color as its proper object. “either there will be two [senses] of the same thing or it will be of itself” has the ring of dilemma to it. it is. Perception.12. 15 The claim is problematized by Aristotle himself in DA II. commentators have puzzled over why Aristotle assumes that the second sense will also have color as its object. The way Aristotle presents the two consequences. 14 So since seeing red.11 423a23-33 because touch. The clarification so put anticipates what Aristotle will make explicit a few lines further down (b22-23).III.: “one can clearly be aware that one is seeing without being aware of what one is seeing.” But properly speaking seeing is never just seeing for Aristotle. one cannot perceive seeing red without also perceiving the sense of sight become red in this way. Aristotle explained. So Hamlyn says: “It is not clear why Aristotle supposes the consequence to follow. namely. I must therefore perceive X by Y. since seeing is a matter of some such sensible form being received by the sense faculty. we may take it that the apparent problem comes from Aristotle’s own idea that each special sense has one proper object. Aristotle’s De Anima. 13 14 . Hamlyn. He seems to assume that if I perceive by sense Y that I see X. that the organ of sight in a way becomes colored in vision.” Secondly. But there is no need to think that Aristotle in DA III. It may therefore seem impossible that there could be two senses by which we could perceive _________ D. Hicks’ note. D. occurs when the sense of sight becomes red in a certain way. for example. Books II. 121-22. since seeing color is a matter of the sense of sight becoming colored. for example. has several objects. The point will turn out to be significant later. in the case of sight.2 has this special sort of case in mind when he sees that the sense of sight will be “of itself.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 243 I (133a) where the seeing thing (the pupil) is exactly the same as what is seen.” 13 To understand the point we need to go back to DA II. So we should ask why either disjunct might seem problematic. I take it he has in mind here exactly that. Cambridge 1907. at least. In the first case. R. Second-order perception is more complex than first-order special perception: both color and sight are perceived. Cf. Therefore one cannot perceive the perception of that sensible form without also perceiving the sensible form as it is taken on by the sense faculty. Notice here that Aristotle says that the sense by which we perceive that we see red has to perceive both sight and the underlying color. seeing red or yellow or some color. Oxford 1968. occurs when the sense faculty takes on the sensible form of the sense object. W. ad loc. color. it seems.

244 THOMAS K. this requirement does not arise on the current reading. Aristotle at this stage is setting up aporiai concerning perceiving that we see and hear. raised the crucial objection that unless there is a requirement that every perception is itself actually perceived there is no reason why the regress should continue. b) any act of perception at level n can only be perceived by a . that if knowledge is of something. However. if s is responsible for p. where that perception is itself perceptible.5 (417a2-9) that the senses do not perceive themselves. As for the other option. in which case there will be an infinite regress of senses. On this reading what generates the regress is not the requirement that any act perception actually be perceived. or b) some sense will be of itself. if we think of those two senses as both perceiving color as their proper object. that there will be a sense that is “of itself. and p is itself perceived in p1. the infinite regress seems generated by applying the premise that wherever an act of seeing is perceived the faculty by which that act is perceived must be other than that responsible for the first seeing. For unless each perception pn is perceived by a perception pn+1 there seems no reason why the regress should not simply stop at any given level. it ought to be of something other than itself.” the air of paradox comes from at least two directions. in his commentary. such that s1 is responsible for p1. and any act of perception. p. s. JOHANSEN color. a). B15-16 goes on to present a further ( b15) issue that arises from saying that there is another sense of sight: either a) there will for each sensefaculty be another sense by which one perceives that sense. So for any sense. aporiai of the sort that might occur to a reader of Book 2. but rather the explanatory principle that any perception exercised by a faculty can only itself be perceived by a different faculty. Aryeh Kosman. and if it is to be so perceived. different from s. must itself be perceived. The thought is that at each level of perception. and partly it comes from the apparent conflict between the notion of a sense that is of itself with Aristotle’s own comments in DA II. there will be a sense sn+1 responsible for perceiving pn. Apply the principle to any act of perception. then according to 2 B) the perceptibility of that perception must be explained by the stipulation of a further sense. For the regress of faculties to be generated it is sufficient that pn for any valuable of p be perceptible not that it is actually perceived. pn. namely. then there will be another sense s1. only that any act of perception may be perceived. In the first case. Note that Aristotle is not committed here to saying that any act of perception. Partly it comes from the worry aired in Plato’s Charmides 165cff. The regress argument thus serves to refute the conjunction of the following claims: a) any act of perception is perceptible. pn. a further faculty has to be posited in order to explain how that perception can be perceived.

however. Caston would here take the expression to horôn (“what sees”) to refer not to the faculty of sight qua seeing. The previous line sought to establish that. Aristotle’s response to the regress argument is to deny NI: some faculties are capable of perceiving themselves. In the absence of such a story. One reply to such a person is of course to say that stopping at this level seems arbitrary unless some further story can be told about why the sense that is capable of higher perception of this order should also be capable of perceiving itself. it seems not only arbitrary but also uneconomical to postulate a higher order sense with the ability to perceive itself. and so on. of saying that sight sees that it sees is that sight must somehow have color when it sees. we stop and say that this sense is capable of perceiving its own perceptions. The implication. sight is of color or what has color. Similarly. at least on one simplified reading of that notoriously tricky argument. then. it too must have color. if what sees (to horôn) is seen. If you postulate a different entity from Fred in order to explain why Fred is a man. namely the Form of Man. 16 B17 draws the consequence that we should make the first sense responsible for perceiving that we see. In “sight is of color or what has color” it is “what has color” that is picked up in the argument (cf. Taken as an argument about faculties. Now one might imagine somebody saying that we should go on postulating higher order senses until a certain level.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 245 sense faculty of level n1. Say. on pain of an infinite regress. This is difficult for reasons of both meaning and language. _________ 16 I am grateful to Mary Louise Gill for pointing me in the direction of a parallel between the regress argument and the Third Man Argument. then you also need to postulate a second Form of Man in order to explain why the first Form of Man is a man. a). Aristotle’s preference here for this account underscores the principle “no faculties beyond necessity. once we get to the level of the sense that is capable of perceiving that we perceive that we see. “it too must have color”). . rather than the stronger “any act of perception is actually perceived. The regress argument thus understood employs analogues to both of Vlastos’s Self-Prediction (SP) and Non-Identity (NI) assumptions: every faculty of perception is itself perceptible (SP) and the faculty by which a faculty of perception is perceptible must be different from itself (NI).” is sufficient with b) to generate the regress. but to the activity of seeing as such. then we need postulate no higher senses at all. For if we ascribe the ability to perceive itself simply to sight. Therefore. then you will need a further faculty in order to explain why that faculty is perceptible. and so on. the regress argument says: if you postulate a different faculty from sight in order to explain why sight is perceptible.” B18-19 presents an aporia arising from the previous line’s conclusion that sight perceives that it sees: as we know from DA II. there had to be some sense that was of itself.7 (418a29).



As far as meaning goes, it is unclear what sense could be made of saying that the activity of seeing “has color.” On my reading, the claim is that the sense-faculty has color insofar as it is seeing color: the sensefaculty assumes the color in the act of seeing it, but it is not the act of seeing the color that has the color. Compare: the fence becomes colored in the act or activity of being painted, but it is not the act of being painted that has the color. We can talk, then, of what sees as having color insofar as it sees color (where seeing color for Aristotle is a way of becoming colored), but that does not mean that it is the act of seeing color that has the color. Thus when you are seeing yourself seeing, you are seeing what sees as colored, because it becomes colored in seeing; but again that does not mean that you are seeing the act of seeing rather than what sees. Another way of putting the point is to say that you see the color in your sense faculty where that color is present by the sense faculty’s seeing the color. One sees the color or coloration of that which sees. Secondly, as far as language goes, taking to mean “the (act of) seeing” rather than “what sees” or “the seeing (thing)” is, to put it mildly, difficult. would be the normal Greek for “seeing.” Presumably it was in order to get that sense that Ross in his first edition changed the text to only to return in his second edition to the far better attested on the two occasions at b18. 17 However, Caston (788) suggests that the use of the neuter “leaves it open what is being referred to: given Aristotle’s use of neuter substantives, it could refer either to the person, the sense organ, the visual capacity, the visual act. Ross’s emendation of to is therefore unnecessary.” The grammatical construction using a neuter participle with the definite article instead of the infinite with definite article is commented upon by Smyth (§ 2051): “Thucydides often uses in an abstract sense a substantival neuter participle where the infinitive would be more common, e.g., to dedios fear, to tharsoun courage (for to dedienai, to tharsein) 1. 36.” 18

See Kosman op.cit. 502. Smyth refers back §1153 b, N. 2: N. 2.: “Thucydides often substantivizes the neuter participle to form abstract expressions: tês poleôs to ti_mômenon the dignity of the State 2. 63. Such participial nouns denote an action regulated by time and circumstance. Contrast to dedios fear (in actual operation) 1. 36 with to deos (simply fear in the abstract).” Cf. also Horn 30, n.36 (cited by Caston): “Bei dem Streit, ob 425b19 beide Male oder zu lesen ist, sollte berücksichtigt werden, dass und fast synonym verwendet werden können. Man vgl. die bei Schwyzer—Debrunner, Griechiesche Grammatik Bd. II (=Hdb. d. Altertumswissenschaft II.I.2, München 1966, 409 zitierten Beispiele).” However, Schwyzer’s examples of the substantivization of the neuter participle do not imply, and are not used by him to imply, the synonymy (near or otherwise) of the two grammatical constructions.
17 18



Initially, this may look like grist to Caston’s mill. However, outside of Thucydides” idiosyncratic prose, the use of the neuter participle with the definite article to express the verbal act is unusual in classical Greek literature. 19 Caston quotes no examples from Aristotle and I am aware of none. Moreover, even if we take the two occurrences of at 425b19 as examples of the idiom, it is doubtful if the idiom, on closer inspection, will serve Caston’s purposes. Denniston has shown that the idiom while designating the verbal act still retains its partial reference to “that part of the being which does so-and-so”:
The use of the neuter article with present participle . . . to denote an abstract idea, is well known, particularly in Thucydides . . . . The participle almost always denotes a mental or emotional state: and it is usually in the accusative. Exact analysis of the idiom is difficult. The original force is clearly “that part of the being which does so-and-so.” (1) In some passages the participial expression has an almost purely abstract force. Thuc. VI.24.2 . Here virtually stands for : but not quite: “they did not lose” (not “their desire for the voyage,” but, more vividly) that part of their being which desired the voyage.” (2) In others, “that part of the person” virtually includes the whole person, and the expression practically means “the person, in so far as he does so-andso. 20

Denniston here gives two different uses of the idiom, (1) and (2). Let us imagine that at DA III.2 415b19 was an example of the idiom. If so, would in case (1) still also refer to the part of us which sees, whereas in case (2) it would refer to the entire person in so far as he sees. The key point for our purposes is that in either case the locution, while having abstract force, still retains its partial reference to “that part of the being which does so-and-so.” 21 I conclude as follows: Firstly, given the rarity of the locution in classical Greek, it is highly unlikely that Aristotle uses it here; secondly, even if we did take the idiom to be used here, it would still retain, according to Denniston, a reference to the part or the whole of the person in its activity of

19 So Popp comments that, while the construction is fairly frequent in Thucydides, it is “apud antiquores praetor Th. scriptores satis rarum,” J.M.Popp, Thucydidis de Bello Peloponnesiaco, p.147 ad I.36.1. His only philosophical citation is the cyclical argument in Plato’s Phaedo 72b: . But here it seems important to Plato’s argument that should not just refer to the state of being asleep but also to the thing that is asleep since he wants to argue that it is the very things that are dead that come back to life (cf. 72c6; c7; d2, etc.). 20 J. Denniston, “Two Notes” Classical Review 45 (1931) 7-8. 21 It might be worth noting also that in DA III.2 is only accusative once (425b19) and otherwise nominative, twice (425b19, 22).



seeing, that is to say the faculty or the person seeing. 22 So even in the unlikely eventuality that Aristotle was using the idiom, it would still be unsuited to supporting an activity reading rather than a capacity reading. It is right to note with Hicks and Caston (772-3) that Aristotle at b18-19 is introducing an aporia that has its origin in Plato’s Charmides 167c169c. Socrates is here finding difficulty with the proposal that temperance might be understood as a kind of self-knowledge, understood as a knowledge that is of knowledge without also being of some other object known. To highlight the difficulty Socrates introduces two kinds of analogous case. The first is that of a power such as “greater than” being greater than itself (and thereby simultaneously being smaller than itself) and “double than” being twice itself (and thereby simultaneously being half itself). The second is the case of sight which if it saw itself would itself have color. Socrates distinguishes clearly between the degrees of difficulty attached to understanding these two kinds of cases:
you observe then, Critias, that of the cases we have gone through, some appear to us to be absolutely impossible, whereas in others it is very doubtful if they could ever apply their own faculties to themselves? And that magnitude and number and similar things belong to the absolutely impossible group, is that so?” “Certainly.” “Again, that hearing or vision, or, in fact, any sort of motion should move itself, or heat burn itself—all cases like this produce disbelief in some, though perhaps there are some in whom it does not (168e). 23

Cf. also A. C. Moorhouse, The Syntax of Sophocles, (Leiden 1982) on the substantive (articular) use of the participle in the neuter in Sophocles (my underlining): “A.229 “the future.” E. 40 “all that is going on.” Here is a notable abstract use which was especially favoured in the latter half of C. Vth., and is prominent in Thuc . . . . Comparison is prompted with the articular use of the infin. (as ); but it is possible to see a difference of sense between the two. The difference is touched on by Smyth, Greek Gram. Para. 1153, who speaks of “an action regulated by time and circumstance” with reference to the participle: in other words, there is an element of the concrete present. P. 675 is more concrete than would be, so that “my infirmity” includes the notion of “my infirm part.” T. 144 …: is not purely abstract “youth,” as is seen by its coupling with and the further physical references to the effects of heat, rain, etc.; it is closer to a collective “what is young.”” 23 I do not see why Caston thinks that the parallels with the Charmides “require an activity reading” (773) to the exclusion of the sort of capacity reading I have developed here for Aristotle. What the passage requires, in Socrates” words, is the “application of the dunameis to themselves.” So hearing will have to have a sound when it hears itself. But this has no stronger claim than that the sense perceives itself qua hearing. The plurals that Caston notes (772) at Charmides, “hearing of hearings” ( . . . , ), “perception of perceptions” are quite compatible with this claim: they are simply



It is therefore not accurate to use the Charmides’s discussion of the idea of a sight that sees itself to claim, as does Caston, that the conclusions stated at 425b19-20 “are understood to be patently absurd, just as it was in the Charmides.” 24 The aporia is just that, a difficulty or source of perplexity which, as so often with Aristotelian aporiai, will be dissolved once we have a proper understanding of the subject matter. Lines b20-25 accordingly proceed to offer a two-fold solution to the aporia. In b20-22 Aristotle points out that there is another way of seeing by sight than seeing colors, therefore we do not have to conclude that what sees must have color if it is seen. In b22-24, on the other hand, he argues that there is a way in which what sees becomes colored in sight. There need be no difficulty, therefore, in accepting that what sees has color. Aristotle here turns out to be one of those in whom the idea of vision seeing itself “does not produce disbelief,” as Socrates put it. 25 B20-22. The first sentence establishes that while “seeing” may entail “perceiving by sight,” “perceiving by sight” does not entail “seeing.” We may thus assert the first disjunct in line b13 (i.e. “one perceives by sight that one sees”) without implying that one sees that one sees, with the consequent aporia. What shows that we may perceive by sight without seeing is the case of discerning darkness and light, even when we are not seeing. In understanding this point it helps to remember that in DA II.7 light is not considered the object of sight but its medium. Color is the proper object of sight, light being that through which the color appears. Perceiving the light is in this sense not strictly speaking a case of seeing. A fortiori perceiving darkness does not count as seeing. 26 Yet Aristotle also acknowledges that we do not discern light and darkness in the same way ( ,

multiple instances of the activity whereby the sense faculty would perceive itself. Note here the singulars as well. 24 V. Caston, “More on Aristotle on Consciousness: Reply to Sisko,” Mind 113 (2004) 525. 25 Notice also that Socrates after this passage continues to explore the idea of a knowledge that is of itself on the assumption that it is possible to make progress with the difficulties. Caston therefore overstates his case (“More on…” 542) when he says that “Socrates treats this [sc. the idea that the act of seeing would be colored] as a reductio ad absurdum of the notion that sight might see itself, and more generally that any attitude might be reflexively directed.” 26 Note, incidentally, that “discerning” ( ) does not itself imply a higher cognitive achievement than mere seeing, which is also referred to by Aristotle as (e.g. 426b10, 427a20).



b22). 27 The contrast he has in mind here is not clear. One way of explaining it would be to say that when one perceives light (but is not seeing anything colored) one perceives in the light the absence of any color, whereas when one perceives darkness, one perceives the absence of the light. If so, the difference between the two kinds of perceiving also relates to the difference between two ways of perceiving that one is not seeing, one by way of perceiving that there is no sense-object, the other by way of perceiving that there is no light. We have then a connection between the claim that we perceive both darkness and light by sight and the claim that it is by sight that we perceive that we are seeing. For if it is by sight that we perceive that we are not seeing (either by the absence of a color or by the absence of light), then that seems to lend support also to the idea that it might be by sight that we perceive that we are seeing: for the same faculty would then be able to monitor both kinds of case. The proper distinction between ways of seeing is then a way not only of dodging the implication that perceiving by sight has to be perceiving color; it is also a way of showing, via the negative example, how the sense of sight may be involved in registering both its own activity and its own inactivity with respect to first-order perception. B22-24 considers the alternative case where we are seeing. One may take this as a rival solution to the aporia insofar as it accepts what b20-22 seeks to avoid, namely, the implication that what sees is colored. However, we may also read b20-22 and 22-4 as offering complementary answers to the aporia: b20-22 concerning the case where we are not seeing, but still exercising our vision, and b22-24 dealing with the case where we are seeing. The two answers, from this point of view, are offered not as contrasting or competing answers to the aporia. Rather they are meant to exhaust the two possible scenarios where we either perceive that we see or that we do not see, where the second scenario turns out to strengthen Aristotle’s case that such second-order perception is due to sight and not to another sense. B22-24 says first that what sees becomes “in a way” ( ) colored. For “colored” Aristotle uses the perfect ( ), which indicates that what sees is colored as a result of having been colored, more specifically, I suggest, as the result of having been colored through the activity of seeing. Thus Aristotle goes on to explain the claim ( ) by referring to the idea

With Simplicius, Sophonias and Hicks, and against Themistius and Rodier, I take to indicate a contrast between discerning light and darkness by sight, and not between discerning color and darkness by sight.



familiar from DA II.12 that each sense-organ is capable of receiving the form of the sense-object without its matter. What it means for the sense-organ to take on the form of the senseobject without its matter is, of course, the subject of controversy. 28 Are we to understand the reception in terms of the sense-organ’s becoming literally colored or in some non-literal sense, as argued by Myles Burnyeat, according to whom the sense organ becomes colored insofar as the color appears to the eye of the perceiver. 29 Or are we to interpret the reception in some third way? 30 We may take Aristotle’s careful insertion of hôs, “in a way,” as meant to steer us away from a literal reading. However, a literal coloration seems at first to give us a straightforward understanding of the passage. We are able to perceive the sense-organ because it becomes literally colored in vision just as we are able to perceive the external sense object because it is literally colored. Moreover, the eye’s becoming literally colored in perception explains how the sensible form can remain in the sense organ after the external object has ceased to affect the eye, as one might imagine a stain remaining on a piece of cloth after the source of the stain has been removed. However, a literal reading is not required to make sense of Aristotle’s argument in our passage. What is required is a notion of being colored that would allow a) for the sense organ itself to be perceptible by being so colored and b) for the color to remain in the sense organ after the departure of the external sense object. Burnyeat addresses a) by saying that the sense-organ becomes colored in so far as color appears in the eye, where the appearance of color would be understood analogously to the way in which the external medium of sight appears to be colored in one’s line of sight towards a colored sense object. 31 Requirement b) might seem more problematic on the non-literal reading

28 For a start, see the essays collected in A. O. Rorty and M. C. Nussbaum (eds.), Essays on Aristotle’s De Anima, Oxford 1995. 29 Cf. M. F. Burnyeat, “How Much Happens When Aristotle Sees Red And Hears Middle C? Remarks on De Anima 2.7-8” in Rorty and Nussbaum (eds.) op.cit. 427: “Given our earlier discussion about the transparent medium being colored in a derivative way, it will come as no surprise to learn that, when we see, the eye is colored in a way (3. 2, 425b22-3). All this implies that the effect on the eye is the same as the effect on the medium, as one could already infer from lines 419a13-15 in 2. 7. The color appears to the eye of the subject who perceives it. The effect on the eye is a quasi-alteration just like the quasi-alteration in the transparent, because the eye too is actually transparent.” 30 For the range of options, see V. Caston, “The Spirit and the Letter: Aristotle on Perception,” in R. Salles (ed.), Metaphysics, Soul, and Ethics in Ancient Thought. Themes From the Work of Richard Sorabji, Oxford 2005, 245-320. 31 Compare Burnyeat’s example of the water in a transparent glass which appears red when you hold a red card close behind it, Burnyeat op.cit. 425.



since the external sense object is no longer present so as to bring about the appearance of color in the eye. On the other hand, notice that Aristotle says that “perceptions and phantasiai are present in the sense organs also when the sense object are absent.” Here we may take him to mean that once the external object has caused the appearance of red this appearance of red continues to be present in the sense organs by way of perceptions and phantasiai. The sensible form is capable of continuing to be present in the sense-organs in this way exactly because it is first received as a sensible form without the matter of the sense object. The continued perceptions and phantasiai of red do not require the continued presence of an external red object exactly because the sense organ’s reception of the sense object’s form was a perceptual reception. Put differently, the perceptions continue in the sense organ because the color was first received as an appearance of color. 32 I do not sketch this answer here in order to endorse it, but rather to show how the current passage needs not be read as offering exclusive support to a literalist reading. For current purposes we may, thankfully, leave the issue undecided: all I shall need in my interpretation is a notion of the sense organ’s being colored in perception which, literalist or not, meets the two requirements I mentioned. The reference to the aisthêtêrion at 425b23, if it is to make any sense in the argument, has to pick up on to horôn. 33 The claim that the aisthêtêrion takes on the sensible form is supposed to show the way in which to horôn is colored. But if this is supposed to help solve the aporia at b17-20, then to horôn must in turn refer to the same thing in b22 as in b19. This point tells once more against the activity reading of to hôron: if the sense organ picks up on to hôron, then to hôron is surely what sees rather than the activity of seeing. However, it might be held also to be a problem for the faculty reading. For do we not have to say that to horôn in b19 must refer to the sense organ and not to the sense faculty, as I argued earlier? I think not. Recall that Aristotle’s primary conception of the aisthêtêrion at DA

32 Cf. R. Bolton, “Perception Naturalized in Aristotle’s De Anima,” in Salles (ed.) op.cit. 228-29. Without endorsing Burnyeat’s interpretation in general, Bolton emphasizes that “the as if coloration in perception must involve an item of phantasia.” He cites the passage at De Insomniis 2 (459b13-18) where Aristotle refers to the afterimage one has of the sun when, having looked at it, one shuts one’s eyes. Bolton says it makes sense here to say that my eye is as if colored red because of “the way my eye appears or presents itself to me in phantasia when I am aware of the afterimage” (229). 33 Cf. Osborne op.cit. 404, n. 15: “There is a textual discrepancy here which enables some editors to read in place of in one or both occurrences at 425b19, but this does not provide a satisfactory solution, since if the comment at 425b22-3 (which must refer to ) is to be any kind of solution to the difficulty in 425b19 it had better refer to at least a possible referent of the terms in b19, and preferably to the same term.”



II.12 is that in which the dunamis to receive the sensible form is present. 34 Referring to the sense organ may therefore be taken to include reference to the sense faculty. Taking the sense faculty to be included in the reference to the sense organ seems particularly plausible at b23 since Aristotle mentions the sense organ as what is capable of taking on the sensible form of an object without its matter, the very capacity that in DA II.12 defined the sense faculties (aisthêseis, 424a18). However, even if there is no contradiction between to aisthêtêrion at b23 and taking to horôn at b19 to refer to the faculty of sight, we still need to explain why Aristotle at b23 shifts to referring to the matter of sight. I take it that the primary reason for the reference to the sense organs here is the attempt to locate the perceptions and imaginings. If you ask where the sensory impressions remain after the sense object has departed it seems appropriate not to point to the sense faculty, which qua faculty has no location, but to its organ, which as corporeal does have a location.35 So we know from the Physics (212b7ff) that it is the body that has place per se while the soul has place only accidentally. 36 The suggestion at DA III.2 425b24-5 is that the perceptions and phantasiai are capable of remaining in the sense organs because the sensible form is received by a sense organ which has a location and is therefore such as to be able to provide a location for the perceptions and phantasiai. 37 There is in b24-25 an implicit contrast between the absence of the sense objects ( ) and the presence of the perceptions

where picks up in 424a18. 35 I note the parallel references in the De Insomniis (459a26, 459b6) to the sense organs as that in which the perceptual affection happens and remains after perception. 36 Cf. DA I.3 406a4-12, where it is suggested that the soul only moves locally insofar as the body it is in so moves, and DA II.12 424a25-28, where Aristotle first identifies the aisthêtêrion as that in which ( ) the sensory faculty is located and then says that it is the same as the faculty but different in being: “for what perceives must be a magnitude (megethos), but neither the being of what can perceive nor the sense (aisthêsis) is a magnitude but a certain logos and faculty (dunamis) of that thing [sc. the magnitude].” Insofar as having place requires having magnitude (points have no place), and only the sense organ has extension, it is proper to ask for the location of a sense faculty by asking where its organ is. 37 I take aisthêseis here to be equivalent to the affections (pathê) or changes (kinêseis) of the sense-organ as such. Compare the use of alloiôsis and pathos in a similar context at De Insomniis 459b4-9 (cf. also DA II.12 424a30). This understanding of aisthêseis goes naturally with its coupling here with phantasia, which Aristotle understands as (DA III.3 429a1-2). The use of the plural aisthêseis at 425b25 should therefore occasion no confusion with the use of aisthêsis in the singular at 425b16 to refer to the sense faculty. on



and phantasiai in the sense organs. I take this contrast to be relevant to the overall argument of the passage in the following way: even when the external sense object has gone, its sensible form is available for perception or cognition because it has been received by the sense organ. The sense organ thus becomes the vehicle for the sensible form vice the external sense object. Where the sensible form in normal perception is realized in the external sense object, it is, upon actual perception, also realized in the sense organ. That ultimately is why we can ascribe the ability to perceive our own seeing to sight understood as the faculty by which we perceive a specific sensible form, color. For when sight perceives itself seeing, it is also perceiving color, the sensible form that it also perceives in first-order vision. 38 However, perceiving that one sees cannot simply be a matter of perceiving color; for it also requires perceiving one’s own sight as colored. In this respect, the content of second-order perception is more complex than that of first-order perception, where vision as a special sense can simply be of color. Hence if perceiving that one sees red is an exercise of the sense of sight, then it cannot simply be an exercise of sight as a special sense, that is, as the sense by which we perceive color. DA III.1 thus leaves us with the impression that it is legitimate to hold sight responsible for perceiving that one sees. The conclusion of the passage underlines that perceiving that one sees may be thought of as a function of the faculty of sight and not of a different sense faculty. We have thereby strengthened the argument in DA III.1 that no senses have been left out of the account in Book II. Aristotle has made a case for thinking that the five senses as defined in Book II are adequate also to explaining the phenomenon of perceiving that we see or hear or smell, and so on. However, DA III.2 has also left us with a question as to how sight can be responsible for second-order perception insofar as its content is more complex than simply color. In this respect the passage points forward to the discussion both later in DA III.2 (426b8-427a16) and in the De Somno of the way in which we perceive contents that go beyond those of special perception. As we shall see, the answer to the question lies not in positing

To the objection that there is now another problematic shift of reference in the notion of the sense perceiving itself, this time between the sense faculty and the sense organ, I reply by referring to the above answer: just as there need be no problem in accepting that the sense faculty can see itself insofar as it is actualized, so there should be no problem in admitting that the sense faculty sees itself insofar as it materially realized. Aristotle’s idea that the sense organ is the sense faculty at a lower level of potentiality, while the actuality of perception is the sense faculty at a higher level of actuality serves after all to emphasize that these are three different states or aspects of the same thing.

IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 255 further senses but in understanding the way in which the five senses work together.2 and if so.2 425b12-25. Aristotle discusses the question of which faculty or capacity (dunamis) is responsible for perceiving that we see (or hear or smell. Inner sense theory thus distinguishes clearly between first-order and second-order mental states. Implications and Defense of Interpretation At DA III. when we see? 2) Is the interpretation of DA III. also Kosman. cit. having driven for many miles. in the example. of what sort? 1) Inner sense theories of consciousness generally take consciousness to be a feature that first-order mental states acquire in relation to an act of perception that has the first-order mental state as its object. 39 I want now to defend and develop this reading by considering three questions: 1) In what sense. smell that we are smelling)” seems to me to beg exactly the question we are trying to answer. n.” Armstrong uses the example to distinguish the consciousness we have of the world from the consciousness we have of our own mental lives. op. is Aristotle committed to the claim that we always or necessarily perceive that we see. . The outcome of the discussion was that we can say that it is by the sense of sight that we perceive that we see.). given the distinctness of the two states inner sense theory allows. This possibility is vividly illustrated by David Armstrong’s example of the absent-minded truck driver who. Cf. in the final analysis.2 consistent with what Aristotle says elsewhere about perceiving that we see? 3) Does Aristotle. and. if any. I have argued. and so forth. the truck driver was all along seeing the traffic lights and avoiding dangers but he was unaware that he was seeing the traffic lights. offer a general account of perceptual consciousness in DA III. that it is by the sense of hearing that we perceive that we hear. Moreover. Thus. in principle at least. etc. Inner sense theory thus in principle allows for first-order mental states which we are not conscious of having.e. Does Aristotle conform with inner sense theory on a) the distinctness of first and second-order perception and b) the possibility of having first-order perceptions without accompanying second-order perceptions? _________ 39 Caston’s comment (“Aristotle on Consciousness” 779. by implication (though this is left unstated). “comes to. 503.59) that “Aristotle could not plausibly say that we “taste that we taste” or “smell that we smell” (i. for the first-order mental state to occur without the second-order perception.

514. as Caston has argued. The question is. However. The question then at 424b16 is just the question: what is the nature and seat of the awareness which we recognize to be a necessary condition of perception in contrast to some mere affection?” (his emphases). So Kosman argues that awareness that one is perceiving is what distinguishes being perceptually affected by sense-objects from being nonperceptually affected by them. how does perceiving differ from merely being affected? The answer is.. However. 44 It is true that perceiving is contrasted with merely being affected insofar as the former implies awareness. 41 Kosman. there must be a single awareness of both. 508: “To perceive.12 424b16 sets the question which DA III. which has illuminated Aristotle’s theory of sense perception in so many ways. . moreover.2 answers. cit.” 41 However. perceiving is being consciously affected in the sense that one is aware of being affected. op. 43 The key problem with this argument. 43 Kosman. op. Kosman. 784-5.2 425b26-426a26. where Aristotle asserts the sameness in number of the activities of the sense-object and the sense-faculty. or to be affected and perceive that one is affected . is not simply to be affected but to perceive that one is affected. we might say at the risk of circularity. 42 it no more follows that we perceive our own activity of perceiving just because that activity is the same as that of the sense-object than it follows that we think of the road from Thebes to Athens when we think of the road from Athens to Thebes.256 THOMAS K. 42 Caston. JOHANSEN First of all. So he says. is that since the actuality of the sense and of the sense-object are logically distinct (or distinct in being) it does not follow that if one perceives the activity of the sense-object (a dubious claim in itself. analyzes DA II. does he think that first and second-order acts of perception are distinct kinds of perception? There is a tendency in the literature to read Aristotle in such a way that perceiving that one sees becomes an essential part of first-order seeing.12 as implying that the difference between the cheese’s being affected by the odor of the onion so as to smell of onion and my being affected by the odor so as to smell the onion is that I am aware of being affected by the odor whereas the cheese is not. “We cannot locate awareness outside the perception as an awareness of the perception different from an awareness of what is immediately perceived.2 to be an account not only of perceptual selfconsciousness but also an account of perceptual consciousness full stop. . or to be affected. 40 This conclusion rests on Kosman’s reading of DA III. cit. One prominent reading takes Aristotle’s account in DA III. . as Caston rightly points out (784-5). 44 My criticism here is not meant to cast any shadow on the brilliance of Kosman’s article. the introduction of self-awareness at this point in the interpretation is premature. as Caston also points out) one also perceives the activity of sight. op. the awareness implied _________ 40 On Kosman’s reading DA II. where these two roads are also one in number but two in being. cit. For given that the activity of the object of perception as such is the same as the activity of perception itself. .

such as color or sound. . First-order perception may. presumably he is as interested in cases such as perceiving that we are seeing that this white thing is the son of Diares. Armstrong. however. there is no reason to think that Aristotle is only interested in those cases where we perceive that we are perceiving the so-called special sensibles. that this difference is not best expressed by saying that second-order perception has a propositional content. explicitly addresses the different question by what faculty we are aware of our firstorder perceptions. It is important. however. It is implied by Aristotle throughout Book II that first-order perception is a form of awareness (aisthanesthai) of its object. that is.). have a complex content. Rather the difference lies in the fact that the content of second-order perception will always have greater complexity than the first-order perception that it takes as its _________ 45 This second-order awareness that one is seeing should in turn be distinguished from the reflective consciousness associated with deliberate introspection of one’s own states (cf. Nor is there any indication that animals and children do not perceive that they see. where that perception is of both color and sight. Notice. there is no indication that it requires any of the higher-order concepts typically associated with reflection and required to ask questions such as “what am I thinking?. “that you are seeing. it is specifically a question about our awareness of our own perceptual processes. as b13-14 said. particularly in the case of accidental perception.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 257 is just the awareness of the sense-object by which one is affected. op. For it is by their kinds of content that we determine the different kinds of perception. This is a question not about perceptual awareness as such. it is not also the awareness of oneself being affected by the sense-object. or that this white object is moving towards me. This criticism may reflect Kosman’s own preference for a first-order theory of consciousness. about our second-order awareness. cit.” “what is this feeling?” and so on. So the difference between the contents of first-order and second-order perception need not lie in the one being simple and the other complex.” whereas first-order perception does not. DA III. to insist that perceiving that we see for Aristotle is a function of our perceptual faculty. where in second-order vision you see not just color or what has color. 45 For Aristotle the fundamental reason why first-order and second-order perception differ in being is that their contents differ. you see that you are seeing color. In first-order vision you see color or what has color. then.2. Kosman in his commentary suggested that my discussion in this section assimilated Aristotle’s notion of perceiving that one sees to this third level of reflective self-consciousness. e. Moreover.g. For Aristotle is prepared to express the content of first-order perception of colors by a proposition. which by taking awareness that one perceives to be an element of any first-order perception leaves reflective self-consciousness as the only alternative to firstorder perception. in cases involving awareness of accidental or common sense-objects. initially. “that [there is] color” (418a15).

but not that one was seeing white. For example. in a way which mere vision of color. in order to make this point. it would be true that one was perceiving white. It seems implied by the formulation. have an accidental perception of white that one confuses with a special perception of white. Perceiving that one sees does not seem simply to be a matter of perceiving that seeing is happening. in the formulation “we perceive that we see” the subject of the verb in the object clause (that we see) can only be determined by reference to the subject of the main verb. In that case. or whether one’s sense of sight was perceiving itself seeing white. it does seem required for X to perceive that he sees that X is somehow aware that it is he who is seeing. 47 _________ 46 In Nicomachean Ethics IX. He claims. it seems to be a matter of perceiving that one is oneself seeing. For if second-order perception did not provide the awareness that perceiving and more generally living belonged to oneself. 47 There may appear to be a contrast between my reading of Aristotle on this point and Sydney Shoemaker’s claim that there are certain first-person thoughts. Firstly. it would provide no support for the claim that one perceives that “the good belongs in oneself” ( . import any notion that one in second-order perception perceives oneself as a certain sort of thing. Secondly.” that are immune to error through misidentification. for example. we could imagine being wrong about whether one is perceiving oneself seeing red. therefore. one might. that I cannot think that I am experiencing pain and think something false because I am mistaken about who it is that feels pain. in two ways. 46 It seems in principle possible that this identification should be mistaken. “I-thoughts. 1170b3). See S.258 THOMAS K. the perceiving that [it is] is white. one might conceivably be wrong in perceiving that one sees white. since the second-order perception conveys not just the content of the first-order perception but also the information that one is perceiving that content.9 1170a29-b3 Aristotle argues from saying that one perceives that one perceives. Shoemaker. We need not. However. One way of bringing out the greater complexity of second-order perception is by pointing to the way in which second-order perception allows for error. or that there is color. “Self-reference and self-awareness. that the perceiver in the second-order perception is also identifying himself as the subject of the (first-order) seeing. JOHANSEN object. to saying that perceiving that one is alive is pleasant since life is good and to perceive that the good belongs in oneself is pleasant. conceivably. let alone that one perceives one’s self. and more generally that one perceives that one is alive. perceiving that one sees white seems to be something one could conceivably be wrong about.” Journal of Philosophy . One such situation in which reflexivity might fail would be if one’s sense of sight was in fact perceiving another or another’s sense of sight seeing white. does not. Unlike the first-order perceiving of white. It seems clear that this argument would not work unless Aristotle thought that in perceiving that one perceives one is aware that it is oneself that is perceiving. Indeed.

Cambridge Mass. op.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 259 Neither of these two sorts of second-order misperception is. “one perceives that one sees” (DA 425b13. Rather the claim is that they are conceptually possible. e. then looking into somebody’s eye when he sees red would still not allow us to see the seeing. see G. 49 Contrast Caston.. Güzeldere.g. If. Philosophical Debates.). But this is independent of how many token mental states are involved. the fact that first-order and second-order perceptions have different truth conditions also suggests that the token act of perceiving white and the token act of perceiving that one is perceiving white cannot in general be the same. I make the point here in the spirit of defending the claim important to inner sense theory that first-order perceptions are rendered conscious by . 48 Even if the sensible quality is literally instantiated in the eye when one sees. 777-8. in that we would still just see another instance of the sensible quality.” I am grateful to Julian Kiverstein for comments on this point. however. The fact that they have different contents shows that they are distinct kinds or types of perception. that he is not interested in the peculiar semantics of first-person statements. Notice. and G. 48 However. but only occurred in the perceiver’s eye insofar as the color appeared to him. however. The original state instantiates both lower—and higher order contents” (his italics). The Nature of Consciousness. I take it. 1170a29). cit. even if the eye-jelly literally goes red when one sees red. De Somno 455a17. 1997: 789806 at 796). (For a similar modern thought experiment. First-order and second-order perceptions have different truth conditions because they have different contents. that Shoemaker’s point is specifically one about firstperson singular statements such as “I am in pain.” Aristotle’s regular use of the third person. Given that perceiving that one sees white arises as a consequence of white being present in the sense of sight it is perhaps hard to see how one could be wrong about seeing being the sense-modality with which one is perceiving white. suggests. it would seem that anyone with access to that appearance of red would ipso facto have be that perceiver. Güzeldere (eds. where this conceptual possibility arises because the content of second-order perception is richer and more complex than that of first-order perception. And he believes that no other token state is required to make the original state conscious. Block. given that one has no perceptual access to the sensory processes of others. Also. it seems clear that we ascribe truth or falsehood to tokens _________ 65 (1968) 555-567. Nic. 49 Firstly. Saying this is of course consistent with that possibility that Aristotle holds that all cases where somebody perceives that he sees are such that he would represent the perception to himself in the first person as “I perceive that I see. on the other hand. O. “Is Consciousness the Perception of What Passes in One’s Own Mind?” in N. the color was not literally instantiated in the eye. Caston’s interpretation is subtle and detailed. who suggests that “[Aristotle] agrees that there is a higher-order content—perceiving that we perceive—as well as the first-order content of the original perception. However.. Flanagan.Eth. a genuine physical or causal possibility for Aristotle. the quality qua perceptible (to us) not qua seen. it is hard to see how one might see another’s sense of sight seeing. the claim here is not that such mistakes are physically possible.

). Similarly. This suggestion does not commit Aristotle to saying that we perceive that we see by sight understood exclusively as a special sense. however. Oxford 1993. Alternatively. cit.197-223 at 212 and “A Theory of Consciousness. not in token. For accidental perception is involved not just in saying what the colored thing is but also in saying where it is. insofar as it involves not just perceiving color but attributing this color to one’s own sense of sight.” Caston. op. However. first-order and second-order mental states] must be distinct.6 418a16. 778.55. Block. who notes that Rosenthal “Thinking that One Thinks. JOHANSEN of perception and not just to types. we do not say that the type “seeing an oak tree” is true or false. However. Flanagan and G.).260 THOMAS K. 50 Pace Caston. cf. . The implications of our identification of different contents for first. because of the difference in their truth conditions. Now as far as Aristotle’s argument in DA III. 50 For it is possible.2 is concerned. Güzeldere (eds. Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. n. we say that it is tokens—and not just the type—of seeing that [there is] white that are true even if in general such acts of special perception are true. I have suggested. provides no justification of his rebuttal. if seeing white and perceiving that one sees white are realized by a single token act. So we say that it is particular tokens of seeing an oak tree that are true or false according to the circumstances. He may say that we perceive accidentally by sight that we see and what makes it appropriate to say that it is by sight that we see this is that part of this content is something we see by _________ distinct tokens of second-order perception rather than in order to refute Caston’s own interpretation which requires and deserves a much fuller discussion than I can give it here. 746] argues that the two [sc. But this again only requires a difference in type. For it seems that second-order perception will generally qualify as a form of accidental perception. the second-order perception still looks like a case of accidental perception. op. Humphreys (eds. DA II. a problem arises when we want to say that these two perceptions have different truth values. he should be able to admit that second-order perception is a form of accidental perception without that undermining his argument that we perceive that we see by sight. for it to be true that one is seeing white but false that one is perceiving that one is seeing white. Aristotle suggested that we can say that we perceive by sight that we see because in vision our sense of sight becomes in a way colored. pp.” in N. Even so. we may take second-order perception to locate the color in one’s own perceptual faculty. cit.” in Martin Davies and Glyn W. it becomes impossible to ascribe different truth values to these two perceptions if we treat them as realized by a single token act: for surely we cannot say that one and the same token perception is at once both true and false. O. or “are least prone to error” (DA 428b19).and second-order perception do not end here.

However. because the son of Diares belongs to the white. 52 Aristotle expresses the content of accidental perceptions such as “the white (thing) is the son of Diares. on Aristotle’s behalf. Now when I see that the white thing is the son of Diares. to an objection to inner sense theory formulated by Güven Güzeldere. reflecting. Accordingly. 51 .6 418a20-25: A thing is said to be an accidental perceptible. What makes the perception as a whole an act of accidental perception is that that perception also attributes “son of Diares” to the white. the content of such secondorder perception is not exhausted by the color since one perceives what has color as one’s own sense of sight. that the white thing is the son of Diares.” is attributed to the white. However. but also that we can only say that I see the whole content. which is perceived. the color of our sense-faculty. It is clear. we can still insist that it is by sight that we perceive this accidental perceptible. For part of what we see is a color.” Here the term indicating the proper sensible appears first as the subject of the proposition. white. For it is perceived accidentally. it is clear that what affects my sense of sight as such is the white. and they are the sensibles in relation to which the substance of each sense is by nature. then. rather an attribute which is not a per se sensible. “son of Diares. we may prefer to express the content of second order perception as. This reading of the relationship between the contents of first-order and second-order perception allows us to reply. “that the white is the son of Diares. The fact that in second-order perception this color is further attributed to my sense of sight makes the overall content of the perception an accidental perceptible. for example. “the red is my sense of sight. the white. for example. However. It is appropriate to say that I see that the white thing is the son of Diares because part of the content. it is only an act of accidental perception because the content is not exhausted by the per se sensible. The ob- _________ Compare the manuscript reading at DA III. Compare the discussion of accidental perception in DA II.1 425a28-30: . is a proper sensible of sight. That is also why no sense is affected as such by the [accidental] sensible. it seems the causal primacy in such perception of the color as a proper sensible. Rather amongst the per se sensibles the proper sensibles are primarily sensibles.” accidentally. that because of the presence of color in the content of my perception we can say here that I see that the white is the son of Diares. Because there is a way in which our sight becomes colored in sight we can rightly say that it is by sight that we perceive that we see. 52 we should say that we perceive that we see accidentally by sight.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 261 means of sight as the special sense it is. 51 I think the case of perceiving that we see is similar.” I am grateful to Pavel Gregoric for comments on this point.

rather than sense-experience. 449b Aristotle says.) op. and not perception. 53 The Aristotelian way with this dilemma is to resist being caught on either horn. could be expected to process. . in the one case because one learnt or contemplated it. not as an exercise of thought or belief. where perceiving that one sees or hears is perceiving that one is currently seeing or hearing. on the other hand. then the HOP account transforms into a species of a HOT account. a case of perceiving. cit. For it is necessary _________ 53 Güzeldere. . that of first-order perception. indeed. whereas nobody would claim to remember the present when it is present. exactly because part of what is perceived in secondorder perception is color.196-203. this collapses the double-tiered structure of the HOP accounts into a unilevel account . which endows first-order mental states with consciousness. part of what allows Aristotle not to ascribe beliefs and thoughts to animals is the extent to which he endows perception with conceptual content. op. However. his “Intentionality and Physiological Processes: Aristotle’s Theory of SensePerception. The Aristotelian will insist that the second-order perception combines both contents. nor what is being contemplated. Moreover. in the other because one heard or saw it or some such thing.” in Rorty and Nussbaum (eds. in which case it is hard to see how it differs from a first-order theory of consciousness. that is to say. the output of the scanning process is taken merely to deliver information about whether the system is currently in possession of a certain first-order state (that a particular first-order state is tokened). such as this here white when one sees it. Aristotle’s theory may look like it really ought to be characterized as a higher order thought theory rather than a higher-order perception theory. If so. it provides this information as an exercise of perception. as Richard Sorabji has argued. between perceiving that one sees and perceptual memory: remembering is perceiving that one has seen or heard in the past. and the information that this color is being seen. . but one says only that one perceives the one and knows the other. or the inner perception provides information that one is seeing in which case the higher order perception theory looks no different from a higher thought theory.” 54 To a modern reader it may seem that the content of Aristotle’s second-order perception “that I am seeing white” or “that I am seeing the son of Diares” involves concepts of the sort that only higher-order cognition such as thinking and believing. 54 There is a strong parallel. If. ..cit. I am suggesting that it is the conceptual richness of perception that allows him to insist that also the perception of perceiving that one sees is. In De Memoria 1. 795. JOHANSEN jection takes the form of dilemma: either inner perception simply provides the perceiver with the content of the first-order perception. But when one has knowledge and perception without the actual objects (aneu tôn ergôn) one thus remembers of a triangle that its angles are equal to two right angles. “if the output of the second-order scanner simply provides the system with the content of the first-order state.262 THOMAS K. cf. the color. memory is of what happened. on the account I have offered. etc. a theory which takes it to be a thought or belief. when one happens to be contemplating it and having it in mind.

IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 263 when one actualises one’s memory to say thus in one’s soul. Here. in quick succession. Aristotle goes on to explain that this ability to recognise that one has perceived something earlier requires a sense of time. : aorist). one perceives in addition to perceiving that one saw this or heard or learnt this. De Memoria 450a.2. Oxford (forthcoming). However. that one heard or perceived or grasped this earlier. can we infer from this difference that first-order perception can occur in the absence of a second-order perception? Can we see without perceiving that we see? The distinctness between first-order and second-order perception as kinds of perception suggests that there is no conceptual necessity that second-order perception should always accompany first-order perception. Aristotle on the Common Sense. and so forth and both involve the use of a common sense. the continued presence of the sensible form also ensures we can also perceive at a later stage both what we perceived in the past and that we perceived it. See P. with some comments: _________ Cf. However. that one did so earlier. It is tempting therefore to see memory as a parallel case to the second-order perception identified in DA III. 56 Compare here at DA 425b24 with at De Memoria 449b. are the three passages which seem to show the point. who distinguishes more clearly than most scholars between the common sense as what he calls “the unified perceptual capacity of the soul” and “the higher-order perceptual power that emerges from it. and is therefore not available to all animals: “for always whenever one’s memory is active. Stating the parallel does not require me to say that it is the common sense in the same capacity that is involved in both memory and second-order perception of current perceptual states. 55 . What is striking for our purposes is the parallel between second-order perception and memory. 55 The key difference is that in memory one is perceiving that one saw or heard ( . : present tense). a number of passages suggests that Aristotle thinks that we do always perceive that we see whenever we see.” the latter including the capacity for phantasia. It is possible that the final lines of the passage at 425b11-25 is inviting us to make exactly this sort of connection with memory: the occurrence of the sensible form in the sensorium is such that not only can it be perceived currently that we are perceiving. involving perceiving one’s own acts of vision or hearing. Both are an exercise of higher-order perception. in the case of normal second-order perception we perceive that we see or hear (DA 425b 11. Gregoric. 56 I have argued for the distinctness of first-order and second-order perception as kinds of perception. and earlier and later are in time” (450a). namely the case in which one perceives one’s own perceptual states with the added information that these occurred in the past.

that we take pleasure in our own existence. one who hears that he hears. whereas nothing inanimate is aware of any such change (244b15-245a1). so that we perceive that we perceive.9 1170a29-b21: but the one who sees perceives that he sees. as we saw.2 244b12-245a2: For actual perception is a change through the body. 59 . . Animate things are not only aware of objects in their envi- _________ Reading with the manuscripts… . Animate things are “not unaware of undergoing change” ( ) when alteration occurs in the manner of the senses. . the passage seems clear that seeing or hearing is accompanied by perceiving that one sees and hears. 57 There are some unclarities here regarding both text and meaning. whenever the alteration does not happen with respect to the senses. But he adds a further and more interesting difference. and similarly for all the other human activities there is something that perceives that we are active. . . . 59 Caston interprets the passage as follows: Aristotle begins with the obvious point that inanimate things do not perceive objects in their environment. However. Nonetheless. is altered in as many ways as the inanimate. . then. 57 . one who walks that he walks. ( )… 58 Bywater’s emendation . . . and (kai) whereas the inanimate is not aware of being affected. the passage is not explicit that we always perceive that we see or hear and the conclusion of the passage. and we think that we think. . but the inanimate is not altered in all the same ways as the animate (for it is not altered with respect to the senses). is perception or thought). . JOHANSEN a) Nicomachean Ethics IX. [understand ]. the animate is. 58 b) Physics VII. and [to perceive or think] that we are perceiving or thinking is [to perceive or think] that we exist (for being. . does not seem to require the premise that we are continuously aware of our own perceptual states. . The animate. . the sense-faculty being somehow affected. .264 THOMAS K. makes the point more difficult to resist. The participial construction with assures us that this is not the same point as the first. For nothing prevents the animate from also being unaware of being altered.

they are also aware of undergoing this alteration itself. 61 Again this passage may be taken to suggest that perception alongside its primary object always also takes itself as a secondary object. cit. whereas the steak in the oven does not.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 265 ronment through perception. his italics. then. Secondly. they are primarily other-directed…” (his italics). whereas the steak in the oven does not. whereas the animate does not. the animate notices itself undergoing the perceptual change. . To be aware of the changes one undergoes “in the manner of the senses” is to be aware in some sense of one’s perceiving. 757. So I perceive myself feeling the heat. The alternative to Caston’s construal would be to take “and whereas the inanimate is not aware of being affected. whereas the inanimate does not (because it does not have any senses). I feel the heat. c) Metaphysics XII. 62 . We could then read the Greek to mean “it does not escape the notice of the animate when it is affected” where the focus is not on noticing being affected but on noticing the thing that affects one. .9 1074b33-6: Mind. articulating one way in which the animate is affected and the inanimate is not. 786: “while our intentional states are always directed at something else and directed at themselves. But the second contrast now seems oddly irrelevant: of course inanimate objects do not perceive themselves perceiving since they do not perceive in the first place. op. . On Caston’s reading Aristotle is articulating a double contrast between the animate and the inanimate: firstly. Aristotle is here pointing to two differences between the affections of the animate and inanimate or just one. . cit. One natural association of the expression “on the side” ( ) is with something you do not always or necessarily do. and its thinking is a thinking of thinking. as Caston claims. he claims. So “I _________ 60 Caston. the animate is” as epexegetic (introduced by ). 61 op. for example. 62 However. 60 The key question is whether. thinks itself. if it is the best. So. But it seems that knowledge and perception and opinion and reasoning are always of something else. This isn’t proprioception either: it is not a question of being aware of eye movement or the like. but of being aware of an alteration that in some sense constitutes perception (244b10-12). So Caston. but only of itself on the side. there is no need to read “always” across the contrast between primary and second function. the animate notices objects in the world when it is affected with respect to the senses. .

the eye that we cannot avoid seeing (cf. . also adduces De Sensu 2 437a26-9: “But this view faces another difficulty. being of something on the side ( ). that is. whenever we see. Is there any reason to think that Aristotle saw the relationship between the two in this way? DA III. 63 Read in this way the passage would rather suggest that we do not always perceive our own perception. 64 Caston. then the one would generally (in the absence of any unusual obstacles) be followed by the other.” he is implying that the fire in the eye should be causing vision even when no-one is bothering the eye.and second-order perception as types and tokens. more particularly. which is ignorant that fire is not a standing condition of vision but a special phenomenon caused by a reflection set up by rubbing the eye quickly. however. let us grant for the sake of argument that Aristotle does think that we always perceive that we see. then necessarily the eye will see itself. ). of course. When Aristotle asks “why does not this happen when one does not rub the eye?.266 THOMAS K.2 says little about the processes of second-order perception. The three passages can plausibly be read as saying that we always perceive that we see when we see.5 (417a2-9): if fire was actually present in the eye it would continuous be offering itself as an object of vision without the need for an external object to actualize the eye’s potential to see.” It is then not the seeing that we cannot be unaware of but.” It is not clear. Is such a concession fatal to the inner sense interpretation of Aristotle? Given the distinctness of first. If the occurrence of a first-order perception were causally sufficient for the occurrence of second-order perception. Caston suggests that “this argument depends crucially on the assumption that it is impossible to be unaware that one is perceiving something while one is perceiving it. that first-order perception causes second-order perception. on the inner sense interpretation the most natural explanation of the concurrence of first-order and second-order perception is that there is causal connection between the two. cit. doesn’t this happen when it is left alone?” (his translation and emphasis). as Aristotle himself says. JOHANSEN cook for a living and do some fishing on the side” suggests that fishing for me is an occasional activity. Why. op. being of oneself and b) being always of something vs. And if the fire is there causing vision we cannot be unaware of it since “it is not possible to be unaware of what is seen when one is seeing. on the theory criticized. Our passage would then give us the double contrast. 64 although I have suggested some possible alternative readings which avoid this conclusion. that this assumption is crucial to the argument: the conclusion follows equally if we take Aristotle to be saying—on another plausible reading of the Greek—that it is not possible for somebody who is seeing to be unaware of what is being seen. expressed by a pleasing chiasmos. of a) being of another ( ) vs. 758. However. emerges as a special case since for him thinking of himself is not something . _________ 63 God. The objection is then relying on essentially the same point as the one mentioned at DA II. since if it is not possible to be unaware of perceiving and seeing something seen. then.

until a standstill is reached. Aristotle thus takes dreaming to be the result of the continued motions of the sensory impressions in the sense organs. firstly. For an example of such phantasiai we may refer to Aristotle’s account of dreaming. we may best study from the circumstances attending sleep. Aristotle uses the analogies of a javelin that keeps moving after it has left the hand of the thrower (compare the external sense-object). what it means for the impressions to remain in the sense organs is not simply for them to lie dormant as potential objects of cognition. but also after they have gone. Gallop. that color will itself be impressed on my sense-organ and therefore my sense organ can itself be seen. given that vision is the reception of the color by my sense faculty we may wonder how the reception of the color could also result in a further second-order act of vision. and this passes it on successively. For what has been heated by something hot heats its neighbour. For sense-objects corresponding to each sense-organ provide us with perception. So whenever I see a colored object before me. in air and liquids alike.” (Translation D. both in depth and on the surface. 65 This account is based exactly on the idea that the sense organs in perception receive and retain impressions of the sense objects.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 267 Two clues that we are offered are. in turn moves another. Hence the affection persists in the sense-organs. seeing that actualized perception is a kind of alteration. where those continued motions are understood as the efficient cause of dreaming. that such perceptions and imaginings remain in the sense-organ even after the sense-object has gone.) 65 . until the starting-point is reached. In their case too there is motion. And the affection produced by them persists in the sense-organs. on being moved. and that. or a hot object that heats up a succession of adjacent objects. for the following Aristotle De Insomniis 2 459a23-b7: “What a dream is. This. and how it occurs. even when the moving agent is no longer in contact with them. So this must happen in perceiving as well. For the affection in their case would seem akin to that of objects moving in space. not only while they are actually perceiving. And in that way motion continues to be produced. but even after they have ceased to do so. For the moving agent moves a certain portion of air. The first clue suggests that there is color available for second-order vision whenever we are engaged in first-order vision. The idea would be this: just as the movement of the sense impression brings about dreams after the external _________ Cf. secondly. This dynamic conception of the movements in the sense organs may help us understand better how the sense impressions act on us so as to bring about second-order perception. Here the second clue may help: “that is why perceptions and appearances (phantasiai) are present in the sense-organs even when the sense-objects have departed” (425b24-5). that we can say that we see our vision of color because the sense-organ itself in a way becomes colored in vision and. as colored. one must assume. applies in the case of alteration likewise. Rather the sense-impressions are understood dynamically as motions or changes. not only while the perceptions are being actualized. However. However.

if perception in general requires distance between sensefaculty and sense-object? Another reply may be to say that perception requires distance between the material object perceived and the sense-faculty but not between its sensible form and the sense-faculty. given that first-order perception is taking place. . 67 A stop-gap answer to this question may be to refer to the further mediation of the sense-impression to the common sense faculty (cf. for Aristotle. the difference in properties between first-order seeing and second-order seeing. So it is perhaps significant that Aristotle at DA II. the sense faculty is already primed for perception in such a way that all it takes for second-order perception to take place is the action of the sense-impression on the sense faculty.9 that perception is always of something else but only of itself en parergôi. Aristotle may have a causal story according to which perceiving that one sees will happen whenever one sees. this only appears a stop-gap answer insofar as firstorder perception too requires this mediation. characterised by a different kind of content. However.11 423b21-22 says that there would be no perception if somebody placed a white body directly on the eye. Similarly. below on the role of the common sense in second-order perception). however. In this way. This conclusion goes well with Aristotle’s observation in Metaphysics XII. given that there is generally only perception at a distance? 67 The upshot of these considerations is this. particularly with respect to truth and falsehood. the movement of the sense-impression may be just one of a range of factors required to bring about second-order perception. suggests that second-order perception is a distinct kind of perception. this account no doubt still falls short of a full explanation of the mechanics of second-order perception. So we may ask: how does the common sense faculty perceive itself perceiving.268 THOMAS K. so this movement brings about second-order perception while the external sense-object is acting on us. second-order perception does not seem to part of the nature or essence of first-order perception. I have explored one way in which we may understand firstorder perception to be causally sufficient for second-order experience. JOHANSEN sense-object has ceased to act on us. The notion of the impression on the sense organ as a movement may go some way towards explaining how the impression is such as to cause us to perceive that we see whenever we see. 66 However. first-order perception is always in fact _________ 66 We may still worry whether the movement of the sense-impression would be a sufficient condition for second-order perception. as a secondary task (1074b35-6). And so it may be that. from that of first-order perception. we may worry how the sense-impression in the sense faculty can cause the same faculty to perceive it. It may be that perceiving that one sees happens whenever one sees because seeing is causally sufficient for perceiving that one sees. Even so. For example. I don’t pretend to have an answer to this worry other than to speculate that Aristotle may think that. Compare the case of dreaming: while the movement of the sense-impression may later bring about dreaming the actual occurrence of dreams clearly depends on a range of other factors relating to sleep.

19." very improbable. IX. as that anything thinks without being conscious of it. and that it is the second order perception that makes us aware of the first order perception. to make two persons in one man. For it is altogether as intelligible to say that a body is extended without parts. . but is not always conscious of it. that for the purposes of identifying Aristotle as an inner sense theorist it is more important that for him first-order perception and second-order perception remain distinct kinds of activity. amongst inner sense theorists as to whether second-order always follows first-order perception. then. I take it. as has been said. would be suspected of jargon in others. What would be the benefit to an animal of perceiving that it perceives that it sees? 69 Essay on Human Understanding. there will have to be some reason requiring the series to continue. that I remember. However. and the man not to perceive it. such inner sense theorists would take it to be an important advantage of their theory that it explained just how it was possible to have mental states of which we were unconscious. such as the coordination of behavior. Aristotle seems to differ from those inner sense theorists on this point. . a particular causal story that suggests why first-order perception should be followed by second-order perception. “That a man should be busy in thinking. is. For there to be a genuine infinite regress.” . _________ 68 If we accept that seeing is always accompanied by perceiving that we see. It is much harder to see how such final causes would apply to third or even higher order perception. or perceiving that it does so. 69 There is scope for disagreement.2 was concerned with) but as a regress of token acts of perception (of the sort that Caston’s interpretation of DA III. If we think of Aristotelian causes as including the final cause. And if one considers well these men’s way of speaking. II.” On my interpretation there is for Aristotle no general requirement that all acts of perception have to be perceived. for example. Can the soul think. . but the story is not of the sort of generality that gives reason to think that an act of perception of any order has to be itself perceived. 68 Aristotle would then differ from those modern inner sense theorists who insist that first-order perception often does occur in the absence of secondorder perception.2 is concerned with)? At this point we may relevantly recall the point Kosman made in his commentary (cited above): “the senses can decide to stop and order drinks all round. There is.9 (cited above).i. it is easy to think of potential final causes for perceiving that one sees. If they say the man thinks always. they may as well say his body is extended without having parts. does the infinite regress not appear again. the enjoyment of life mentioned in Nic. Eth. and yet not retain it the next moment. one should be led into a suspicion that they do so. nothing more needs to happen. For they who tell us that the soul always thinks. he does not differ from all inner sense theorists: Locke. and so the infinite regress of acts of perception does not follow. storage of information for memory. this time not as a regress of faculties (of the sort that I claimed DA III. agrees with him. and not be conscious of it? This. and not the man? Or a man think. therefore. a claim supported by examples such as Armstrong’s truck driver. say that a man always thinks. perhaps. even though there is no conceptual necessity that this should be so. do never.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 269 followed by second-order perception. To suppose the soul to think. on my interpretation. Moreover.

For there is one sense and the controlling sense organ is one. . My response shall be a compatibilist one according to which the conflict between DA III.2 and the De Somno can be resolved while maintaining a capacity reading of DA III. but we observe that there is no perception by any of the senses when we sleep.2? Hicks and Osborne underline the inconclusiveness of the discussion in DA III.2. .2 to avoid the inconsistency with De Somno. Caston thus presents a challenge to any capacity reading of DA III. . sleep must be an affection of something the senses have in common. . Let us start by considering the context of De Somno 2. it would be possible to perceive by one of the senses even while asleep. by which one perceives both that one sees and that one hears—for surely it is not by sight that one sees that one sees and it is not by taste or sight or both together that one discerns and is capable of discerning that the sweet things are different from the white but by some part that is common to all the sense organs. on the one hand. such as sound and color. that is. 70 How are we to explain the apparent contradiction between the De Somno and DA III. seeing is peculiar to sight. takes the contradiction to be a result of reading DA III. . JOHANSEN 2) DA III. . But what does Aristotle mean by a common sense? _________ 70 . Aristotle wants to argue in this chapter that sleep is an affection of the sensory faculty.2. ( . in so many words. If not. But at De Somno 2 455a12-22 Aristotle seems to deny this explicitly: But since in the case of each sense there is something peculiar and something common. there is no contradiction between taking this activity to be a case of seeing. . while also in De Somno presenting the common sense as the capacity responsible for this activity. and in the same way for each of the other senses.270 THOMAS K. . Caston. the common sense. . that sight is responsible for perceiving that we see. His view is that since sleep affects all the senses together. but the being is different for the sense of each kind.2: Aristotle never asserts in DA III. for example. meanwhile. )… .2 as concerned with capacities: once we realize that this chapter deals with the activity of perceiving that we see. So they take his considered view instead to be that of the De Somno: it is the common sense by which we perceive that we see.2 argues that it is by sight that we perceive that we see. hearing to the sense of hearing. while on the other hand there is also a certain common capacity that attends upon all of the senses.

IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 271 He stresses the fact that the common sense is common in that it belongs to all of the five senses ( . similarly. Aristotle’s comment that “it is not by sight that one sees that one sees” should be read in the context of this emphasis on the unity of the senses. 455a16-17). Alternatively. First. Aristotle also says that there is one sense whose being differs for each kind of sensible. It is the analogue because it brings together in one perception. I note two points here. the claim that “surely it is not by sight that one sees that one sees. More precisely. It is. Now clearly what Aristotle means here cannot be that vision and taste are not involved in the perception that white is different from sweet. consider the other role Aristotle assigns in the passage to the common sense. What we have here. Aristotle is contrasting what can be said of the individual senses as special (idiai) or different and what can be said of them as having something in common (koinon). It is natural to take Aristotle’s phrasing here to indicate the capacity by which one perceives both that one sees and that one hears. or over and above. it is rather the sense in virtue of which the five senses are one. the individual senses. as reasonable to say that one and same special sense cannot coordinate the perceptions that one sees and that one hears as it is to say that one special sense cannot coordinate the perceptions of white and sweet. of perceiving something as both sweet and white. that one sees and that one hears.” Here there is appar- . In this case the perception that one both sees and hears does not bring together the proper objects of taste and sight. 455a1920). What Aristotle wants to deny is that it is by sight as a special sense that we see that we see that we see. as Aristotle first put it. The common sense is thus not a sense in addition to. at the level of second-order perception to the case. the common sense organ is a part that is common to all the sense organs ( . is the analogue. whether you take them individually or together ( . thus. but the activities of the senses themselves. two different sense-objects. 455a19). we could say that there is one sense that is also distinguished as five senses insofar as there are five different kinds of proper sensible. Now let’s return to the question concerning. Now let’s consider again. in extension of this reading. sweet and white. This too Aristotle says is a kind of perception that can be put down to neither taste nor vision. For white and sweet are after all the proper objects of vision and taste. 455a16). Rather what makes the discrimination of white from sweet a matter for the common sense is that neither of these senses as special senses is capable of discerning the difference between their proper objects. “that by which one perceives both that one sees and that one hears” ( . discerning that sweet is different from white. however. at the level of first-order perception.

The admission of the common sense does not add to the number of senses. Given the way DA III. in extension of the previous lines. after all. Is it by sight that we perceive that we see or by another sense?. that allows us to make contrastive judgments between perceptibles.2 sets up the question. whether in the absence of light or a senseobject. as De Somno points out.2 highlighted the role of sight in perceiving that we see. It is the common sense. it is natural to read Aristotle as denying that it is by sight as a special sense that we perceive that we see. It is. there is therefore no contradiction between the answers given by the two works.2. I think two more comments will help show that the two works are compatible. nor. there is the key point that the common sense does not constitute a further sensory faculty over and above the special senses. Nonetheless. The common sense does not constitute “another” sense (hetera aisthêsis) of the sort referred to in DA III. given the way DA III. JOHANSEN ently no coordination of the activities of sight and other senses. The De Somno is clear that the common sense is not different in number from the special senses. therefore. Rather the question that arises is whether DA III. For sight as a special sense was concerned merely with color. by the common sense that we discriminate white things from sweet things. does it constitute the first step in a regress argument. he is not excluding that sight is involved in perceiving that we see. like hearing.2 is compatible with the De Somno’s suggestion that it is by the common sense that we see that we see. Firstly. it is easier to understand exactly why this kind of accidental perception would draw on the input of the common sense. This notion of perceiving by sight as a form of accidental perception came out particularly clearly in the case mentioned by Aristotle of perceiving by sight that we are not perceiving. Once we accept the notion that we can perceive by sight that we see as a matter of accidental perception. I think we can see now that the implication of this point was already that perceiving that one sees could not simply be a function of sight as a special sense. it makes good sense to say that the way in which the content of second-order perception goes beyond that of first-order perception points exactly to the involvement of the common sense. it is only different in being. If so. We can now see the rele- . Now in the previous section I argued that perceiving that we see red appeared to be a form of accidental perception in that the content involved not just red but also an attribution of that red to one’s own sense of sight. and not with information such as whether this or that thing is colored. he is just saying that insofar as sight is involved it is not involved as a special sense. Secondly.272 THOMAS K. There is therefore nothing new in De Somno’s suggestion that it is not by sight as a special sense that we see that we see. but rather by virtue of its integration with the other senses.

That is.IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 273 vance of Aristotle using exactly this parallel at the point when he wants to say that it is by the common sense that we perceive that we see. For if perceiving that we see involves identifying vision amongst a range of sense modalities. taste. thanks to Ned Block. Moreover. Given my defense of this distinction. However. it would support the point I am making here that Aristotle thinks that perceiving that one sees involves a discrimination amongst the different sense-modalities. The two works do seem to be compatible. Therefore the manner in which second-order perception involves accidental perception goes well. we know from elsewhere that is also considered (DA 426b10). it is the element of our perceiving that we see red rather than that we see red which gives second-order perception a richer content that special perception.2. on my reading of DA III. since it would ease the transition in thought in the sentence from seeing to discerning. Consciousness. 3) Finally. This account may only be an account of what. Moreover. ch.1. 1987. touch. not just in first-order discriminations such as white is different from sweet. hearing. I have in my interpretation tried to separate the question of first-order perceptual awareness of objects in the world and the question of second-order awareness of one’s own perceptions. 72 For a useful survey. with the point in De Somno that it is by the common sense that we are capable of grasping that we see. does Aristotle have a general account of perceptual consciousness? Given the proliferation of senses of “consciousness. then we would expect the common sense to be involved just as we expect it to be involved in discriminating (krinein) among a range of kinds of first-order sensible. 71 When it comes to making discriminations between different genera—as opposed to species—of sensible we expect the involvement of the common sense. Lycan. etc. see W. I am grateful to Philip van der Eijk for comments on this sentence. However. as do Ross and Siwek. it is exactly this element in the second-order perception that makes it other than a case of special perception.2 or in De Somno 2 a general account of perceptual consciousness. then. flavor. etc. I do not think that Aristotle is offering either in DA III. color. It is tempting to take Aristotle as implying this point here. even on a capacity reading. 71 .. but also in second-order discriminations of the sort that seeing is happening rather the tasting. Cambridge Mass. if that is meant to explain also what makes first-order perception consciousness of objects in the world.”72 it is far from clear what we should expect from such an account. Aristotle does give us an account of perceptual self-consciousness insofar as he tells us by what faculty it is we are capable of gaining information about our own perceptual activities. to place a comma at 455a17 and read . has become known as “access con- _________ It is natural. sound..

73 Aristotle’s account of perceiving that we perceive may not also constitute an account of phenomenal consciousness in perception. Güzeldere (eds. In articulating this option. he would not be alone among inner sense theorists. Flanagan. it helps (again) to keep in mind the distinction between first-order and second-order perception. The qualia of the first-order vision of red (what red is like when it is seen) would. the qualia of seeing red are those of red as instantiated in one’s own visual system. Lycan. what is sometimes referred to as the qualia of experience.).” in J. Thus for Aristotle the qualia of first-order and second-order _________ 73 N. 77 Put differently. the mechanism by which the contents of our mental state are available. cit. Spindel Conference 1992: Ancient Minds 31: 137-60 at 144). Southern Journal of Philosophy.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (1995) 227-47. Supp.274 THOMAS K.” for rational control. One is that he did not recognize phenomenal consciousness as a phenomenon and therefore not as an explanandum. verbal report. 755-772 at 756. O. see Peter Carruthers’ warning against the tendency to elide the conceptual distinction “between what the world is like for an organism. 74 If so. . 75 A third possible explanation is that Aristotle did not think there were further questions to be answered about the qualitative aspects of experience other than the question of what it is represented in our awareness of such experiences. however. His theory was meant as a theory of how we gain perceptual access to our own perceptions. or “poised. Block. Andy Clark’s “A case where access implies qualia?. as it seems.” Analysis 60 (2000). there are at least three explanations of Aristotle’s failure to address the issue of phenomenal consciousness in the context of perceiving that we see. 75 Cf. Block. 30-38. and no more. on this account. 74 See. that is. be none other than the attributes of red. W. 76 Such a reading would be facilitated if it is correct to say with S. and G. that our perceptual experiences have peculiar qualitative “feel” to them. op. the fact. 76 The qualia of the second-order perception that one is seeing red would be the peculiar way in which red appears in one’s act of seeing red.Broadie that “Aristotle thinks of the so called secondary qualities as literally qualifying the physical objects perceived in terms of them and…he thinks of the objects qua thus qualified as causing the corresponding perceptions…” (“Aristotle’s Perceptual Realism.” Phenomenal Consciousness. and reasoning. Cambridge 2000.Ellis (ed. “Consciousness as Internal Monitoring. for an attempt to show how qualia might be explained as an aspect of one’s access to the specific perceptual modes of experience.). and what the organism’s experience of the world is like for the organism.Vol.” in N. JOHANSEN sciousness. Another is that he recognized it as an explanandum but not as an explanandum of a theory of inner perception. If his scope were so limited. “On a confusion about a function of consciousness.” that is. 77 On the importance of keeping these two questions apart in the case of phenomenal consciousness.

we would expect the qualia of seeing blue to be significantly different from the qualia of blue. The representation of the cup has cuplike properties that resemble properties of the cup itself.” which to Güzeldere’s mind is “more like fairy tales. n. cit. quoted by Kosman. “The Refutation of Idealism.) op.450. cit. E. by secondorder perception. Thus. The Aristotelian explanation of the similarity. 79 Thus Peter Carruthers objects: “If the sort of subjectivity produced by inner sense were really like the sort of subjectivity of the world produced by the operations of the firstorder senses. 21) disagrees. a representation of the cup in front of her. Flanagan and Güzeldere (eds.” However.78 This difference may express the peculiar introspective feel that focusing on one’s own perceptions has. although it does _________ 78 G. she goes on to “internally perceive” this representation. for a theory of the qualia of perception. then it is mysterious how our phenomenally conscious experiences could have the property of transparency. . as we saw. supporting the Aristotelian notion of a resemblance between the sense-object and the perceptual system in terms of their isomorphism. The objection is that if the qualia of seeing blue are generated by the experience of a distinct inner sense.” Mind XII (1903). Lycan (as Güzeldere points out. But there is not. as Moore famously pointed out. For…concentrating on your experience of red just is concentrating more closely on the redness represented. By second-order introspective consciousness. the experience of seeing blue is strikingly like the experience of blue: “when we try to introspect the sensation of blue. according to which S would have in her mind “a little replica of what she saw in front of her. V. firstly. 80 G. is that blue forms part of the content of seeing that one sees blue. If inner sense picks up on. This representation is her visual state.” He goes on to associate this view with that of Scholastic Aristotelians. while resisting complete transparency. . 79 But. 798. 238. op. . .IN DEFENSE OF INNER SENSE 275 vision would be similar insofar as they are both qualia of red but differ insofar as in second-order vision those qualia of red are invested with a sort of internal character: it is red as appearing in my sense of sight rather than as a feature of the external world. 449. all we can see is the blue: the other element is as it were diaphanous. . cit. argues that the idea of inner perception might work “if the properties of one’s representational states resembled (or were identical to) the properties that those states represented. and with the aid of an “internal third eye” . to accept the observation that the experience of seeing blue is very much like that of blue. Aristotle’s account of perceiving that we see could thus provide some elements. and represents in a particular manner. were able to view this replica.” in Block. Güzeldere. in her mind. . if no more. Moreover. properties of our experiences…then surely we would expect there to be a distinct (non worldly) set of properties of phenomenally conscious experiences on which introspection could concentrate.” Carruthers op. Moore. such a theory would be able to address at least one objection that is commonly leveled against inner sense theory. “Is Consciousness the Perception of What Passes in One’s Own Mind?. S gets to “see the cup in her mind’s eye. 804. the subject S forms. 516-7. Here is how it would go: By first-order visual perception.” 80 The Aristotelian answer to this objection is.

but a function of sight in cooperation with the other senses by way of the common sense. and to Aryeh Kosman. Mary Louise Gill. who as the ideal commentator has helped me both correct and construct my argument. we should not expect inner perception to generate alien perceptual qualia. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Victor Caston not only for acute criticism of my paper but also for the stimulation of his Mind article. . Secondly.276 THOMAS K. dissoiblogoi. and the written comments of Pavel Gregoric and Julian Kiverstein. since perceiving that one sees is not the function of a distinct inner sense. for warm hospitality and instructive discussion. however. The theory may therefore have something to commend it. to my hosts at Brown University. nonetheless I have spoken of it as “Aristotelian” rather than “Aristotle’s” in the awareness that there is no strong reason to think that Aristotle ever meant to account for phenomenal consciousness as such. I have benefited from Michael Pakaluk’s analysis on his in particular. In revising the paper for publication. JOHANSEN not exhaust it. 81 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH _________ 81 I am grateful to Michael Pakaluk and the other organisers of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy for inviting me to speak. The visual feel also of inner perception is then as we would expect it on this Aristotelian-style theory of qualia. which has raised the bar in this area of Aristotelian studies.blogspot.

which is to be explained by a theory of inner sense. or does it refer to a phenomenon of reflective self-consciousness. in Peter Carruther’s words “scans the outputs of those first-order senses and generates higher-order . the question concerning the phenomenon he means to explain. 2004. 1 . Johansen reinforces our sense that Aristotle is talking about perceptual consciousness. . the exact nature of which and whose relation to ordinary instances of consciousness Aristotle here sets out to explain? Inner sense theory argues that we have not only a set of first-order senses that generate representations of our surroundings and states of our own bodies.). but in addition what the phenomenon is that Aristotle sets out to explain in the first place. Higher Order Theories of Consciousness. this: does “ ”—‘perceiving that we see’—refer to a phenomenon of consciousness. produced by the operations of our faculty of inner sense. representations of (some of) them in turn. So we’re led to ask about the opening paragraphs of De Anima III. nor what it is that they establish. he goes on to say. Thomas Johansen bravely sets out to elucidate one of Aristotle’s super-cryptics. That is to say. our first-order perceptual states get to be phenomenally conscious by virtue of being targeted by higher-order perceptions. . Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Gennaro (ed.COMMENTARY ON JOHANSEN ARYEH KOSMAN In this carefully thought out paper. I think. is.” in R. “these higher-order representations are responsible for the feel of our phenomenally conscious states. HOT theory.2: what is it to “perceive that we see?” as well as the more obvious questions: Does Aristotle think that whatever it is is accomplished by sight or by something other than sight? and How do the textually different arguments he brings to bear establish this or that conclusion? By overtly linking Aristotle’s discussion with such inner-sense theorists (or higher-order perception theorists as Peter Carruthers suggests we should call them) as David Armstrong and William Lycan.” 1 _________ “HOP over FOR. those are the texts in which it’s unclear not simply what Aristotle’s arguments are. which. but a faculty of inner sense as well.” And. But what features of perceptual consciousness? One central question about how to understand Aristotle’s discussion.

it’s not a theory of reflective self-consciousness. we should call it soul or something else. is the nature of the distinction between the first two phenomena. but through which we see. and more complex and subtle than my discussion of thirty years ago. whether.” puts it. p. 2” Philosophical Review. but a theory of consciousness. 1969. 1) The image of an apple is projected. exactly as he . jamb. Two connected questions then recommended themselves. say upon a screen. III. 97 3 “Perceiving That We Perceive: On the Soul III. But first-order perceptual states by themselves. a theory of second-order perception is not a theory of second-order consciousness. reflecting on his experience of seeing an apple. such that we would want to report that the dog or philosopher is aware of the apple. as instruments: “ Notice that here. 2) The image of an apple affects the functioning eye of a sentient animal. like a dog or a philosopher. . such as those of Armstrong’s abstracted truck driver.278 ARYEH KOSMAN Such theories can clearly claim as their ancestor the theory that Socrates gets Theaetetus to agree to at Theaetetus 184c. Lucretius: The Way Things Are. sash. so that Lucretius’ cheeky jibe at similar theories: If eyes are doorways might it not be better to remove them. But my saying “in some sense unconscious” should alert us to the respect in which linking our reading to discussions like those of Armstrong and Lycan makes the issue more complex and subtle than I’ve just made it out to be. 3) A philosopher. that’s the question that I think activates II. as we like to say. and it is only by virtue of the higher order ‘perception’ that the term conscious applies to anything. is aware of his awareness. sense organs. according to which our eyes are not but rather : not that by which. not seers or agents of seeing. as Socrates delicately puts it. in which the orders differ categorically. lintel and let the spirit have a wider field? 2 doesn’t apply. and this is true as well for Armstrong and his cohort. A) What. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. It is some inner power. 84 (1975). according to Aristotle. by which we should properly be said to see. 3 That earlier effort in understanding this chapter was founded on a very rough distinction among three sorts of phenomena. but instruments of our sight. First-order perceptual states play an important role in this perceptual system. are still in sense some unconscious. that is to say. using these organs. the translation is by Rolfe Humphries.12 of the De _________ 2 De Rerum Natura.367-369. No one would say that the screen saw the apple.

But I saw II. with which Johansen’s discussion seems concerned. depending on how we understand the nature of “inner sense.12 as an element in the analysis of De Anima III.and secondorder perception in the service of explaining first-order consciousness. but which now. that perception is not adequately explained by understanding it to be an affection by the form of the perceptible object. For Armstrong’s distinction allows us to speak of a theory of first.2. even if we specify. The question at the end of II. who reminds us. Thus he writes: . between a minimal perceptual registering and the kind of perceptual awareness that we are willing to call consciousness. but in consciousness. B) Is our text in III. or is it about the nature of the third phenomenon? Johansen is unhappy with my citation of De Anima II.” But however we parse this answer. The answer I suggested was: yes or no.12 as of interest only as setting the issue. II. that is. It is true that perceiving is contrasted with merely being affected insofar as the former implies awareness.12 shows. of which it may give an interestingly nuanced account.COMMENTARY ON JOHANSEN 279 Anima. it seems to me. a distinction again cited by Johansen. as Johansen notes. in the service of allowing us to see the distinction between the kind of awareness we have on automatic pilot. of the object qua perceptible. That is. the awareness implied is just the awareness of the sense-object by which one is affected. is assumed throughout Book II. and the kind of awareness we have when attending to our environment or to our tasks. self-consciousness. it is precisely the latter. What I’m most uneasy about in Johansen’s discussion is that despite its appeals to an inner sense theory that is interested not in selfconsciousness.2 about that distinction. This is simply to repeat the argument of the Theatetus: there’s more to seeing than meets the eyeball. as Johansen says. and took the issue to be in fact simply the issue of object awareness. my suggestion was that what is at stake is the explanation of consciousness. is the distinction David Armstrong attends to in the case of the abstracted truck driver. it is not also the awareness of oneself being affected by the sense-object. is questioned. which it is true. And of even greater interest. neither of which is the second-order self-consciousness that occurs when we attend reflexively to the acts of our perceiving. However. at the end of the book. he is of the opinion that the introduction of self-awareness at this point in the interpretation is premature. A finer set of distinctions than the crude one on which my argument was based is generated by Lycan.12 is: what more? And the question Aristotle then goes on to pose at the beginning of Book III is whether something like inner sense theory can provide the explanatory addition. of the variety of senses and levels of the notion of being conscious.

pn. “Aristotle is not committed here to saying that any act of perception. must itself be perceived. must itself be per- . it may go on. either there will be an infinite regress. But if this were true. s3 could perceive p2 with p3.280 ARYEH KOSMAN The awareness implied [in II. But then what? At that point the senses can decide to stop and order drinks all around. there will be a sense sn+1 responsible for perceiving pn. pn. But at any moment they might decide to stop. Note that Aristotle is not committed here to saying that any act of perception. then the sense by which it is perceived is different from the original sense that sees. about our second-order awareness. So if s1’s act of perceiving. Johansen suggests: the infinite regress seems generated by applying the premise that wherever an act of seeing is perceived the sense by which the act is seen must be other than that responsible for the first seeing.12 is the necessity of the consequence rather than of the consequent. pn. however. and if the senses were stubborn or patient. or even that we always perceive that we see when we see. p. it is not also the awareness of oneself being affected by the sense-object. Apply the principle to any act of perceiving. and s2 will perceive p1 in p2. On the other hand. that’s what it means to say. p1. It is implied by Aristotle throughout Book II that first-order perception is a form of awareness (aisthanesthai) of its object. That’s why he takes the phenomenon that Aristotle is out to explain to be an occasional or at best incidental feature of our perception: The necessity mentioned in II. this could go on quite a while. and any act of perceiving. it is specifically a question about our awareness of our own perceptual processes. Here it seems clear that only if meta-perception. is being considered as an explanation and condition of perception does the argument make sense. explicitly addresses the different question by what faculty we are aware of our first-order perceptions.12] is just the awareness of the sense-object by which one is affected. such that s1 is responsible for perceiving p. itself an instance of perception. different from s. Aristotle says. then according to 2 B) it must be explained by the stipulation of a further sense. is perceived. This is a question not about perceptual awareness as such. as Johansen does.2. s. and if it is to be so perceived. nothing more needs to happen. or some sense will be of itself: “ ” (425b17). only that any act of perception may be perceived. So for any sense. it’s perceived by s2. then there will be a sense s1. But why on this account will there be a regress? Johansen says the premise is this: if an act of seeing is perceived. if it were by some other sense that we accomplish the phenomenon in question. For the regress of faculties to be generated it is sufficient that there be just one act of pn being perceived at any level n. De Anima III. then. why would the infinite regress argument unseat one of the suggested explanations of the phenomenon? Recall Aristotle’s argument. Aristotle is not saying that we necessarily perceive that we see when we see. if s is responsible for p and p itself is perceived.

article 2: “si mundus fuit aeternus.COMMENTARY ON JOHANSEN 281 ceived. a father is an efficient cause of his child. Sed per accidens in infinitum procedere in causis agentibus non reputatur impossibile.e. and the stick were being moved by a hand. et generatio fuit ab aeterno. ut dicitur in II Physic. But as Physics II says. and of Posterior Analytics I. Without that dependency. if a craftsman were to use many hammers incidentally. or for that matter could go infinitely. sicut si lapis moveretur a baculo. But it is not impossible to proceed to infinity per accidens among agent causes.. 4 Thomas replies to this argument as follows: It is impossible to proceed to infinity per se among efficient causes. Recall the argument Thomas Aquinas gives against those who thought that the eternity of the world was disprovable. et hoc in infinitum. it concerns a series. For there to be a genuine infinite regress. Question 46. of Nicomachean Ethics I.. Part 1. since all the men who generate belong to the same order of efficient causality. then generation would also have occurred from eternity. and so on ad infinitum. there will have to be some reason requiring the series to continue. Ergo unus homo genitus est ab alio in infinitum.” So having grown weary of their little game.2 (1094a18-21). in which any term of the series is essentially dependent upon a prior term. In order to see this. there is no ad infinitum argument. if a rock were being moved with a stick. multiplicarentur in infinitum. and who made the following argument: If the world were eternal. et baculus a manu. because one after another kept breaking. Ergo in causis efficientibus est procedere in infinitum: quod improbatur in II Metaphys. of Metaphysics II.3 (72b 8-14). we need only to recall the nature of an ad infinitum argument. ut puta si causae quae per se requiruntur ad aliquem effectum. i. one man would have been generated by another ad infinitum. it is incidental to this man. they’ll call it a day: enough reflection for a while. for instance.2 (994a1-19). non teneant ordinem nisi unius causae. Then it is incidental to this hammer that it acts after the action of some other hammer. i. ut puta si omnes causae quae in infinitum multiplicantur. that he be generated by another. Therefore. sed earum multipli- . for instance. the order of a particular generating cause. insofar as he generates. So the ad infinitum argument of Physics VIII.” 5 “dicendum quod in causis efficientibus impossibile est procedere in infinitum per se. For he generates insofar as he is a man and not insofar as he is the son of some other man. such an argument is characteristically not about the existence or non-existence of an actual infinite.e. Therefore. viz. Sed pater est causa efficiens filii. it would be possible to proceed to infinity among efficient causes..5 (256a4-256b2). 5 _________ 4 Summa Theologiae. But this is disproved in Metaphysics II. the series could stop at any moment. In the same way. it is not impossible if all the causes that are multiplied to infinity belong to a single order of causes and if their multiplication is per accidens—as. it is impossible for the causes that are required per se for a given effect to be multiplied to infinity—as. In Aristotle.

but that’s merely an attempt to mark its special nature (marked in Being and Nothingness by placing the of of objectivity in parentheses. Aristotle’s concern cannot be with an occasional phenomenon such as reflective consciousness explained by higher perception. quod agat post actionem alterius martelli.” as though to create a visible sign of objectivity sous rature. So my worry finally is this: Aristotle’s concern still seems to me to be with an explanation of first-order consciousness. quod sit generatus ab alio: generat enim inquantum homo. 1966. Johansen’s concern on the other hand sounds as though it is with second-order consciousness. 785ff. or seeing. quia unus post unum frangitur. so: “conscience (de) conscience. If we are inclined to think of this as self-consciousness because of the syntax of Aristotle’s expression. the ad infinitum argument would make no sense as an objection to Aristotle’s supposition that the agency of such perception be elsewhere. we must understand that here self-consciousness is not the reflexive self-awareness that we experience in the special circumstances of shame. Et similiter accidit huic homini. I take this to be the suggestion of Victor Caston. distinguish such self-presence from reflexive self-awareness by describing it as an awareness in which the self is not an object. the phrasing suggests an interest in the question of how we are _________ catio sit per accidens. pride. in his influential essay “Aristotle on Consciousness. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press. Rather. And if that’s true. I find very clear Scotus’ explanation in his proof: John Duns Scotus. De primo principio.” The distinction between causal series ordered per se and those ordered per accidens is frequently noted in medieval proofs for the existence of God. embarrassment. but in neither case does he intend by this reflective self-awareness—my vivid thought that I am now gazing at the gates of Providence I had so long imagined—but the self-awareness that characterizes simple first-order consciousness—my knowing what I am thinking. Accidit ergo huic martello.) But just as in Metaphysics Lambda Aristotle continues to speak of thought as an object of thought—as thought of ( )—so here he speaks of perception as an object of perception. et non inquantum est filius alterius hominis. scilicet gradum particularis generantis.282 ARYEH KOSMAN So without the requirement that perception be perceived. or doing. . inquantum generat. 111 (444) (2002). Some philosophers. and that appearance is strengthened by remarks such as this: Aristotle’s phrasing does not imply an interest in general perceptual awareness. Edited by Allan Wolter.” Mind. sicut artifex agit multis martellis per accidens. or surprised delight at our present experience. it is simply the self-presence of all conscious experience. but must be with an explanation of perceptual consciousness for which iteration would be required. omnes enim homines generantes habent gradum in causis efficientibus. Sartre for example. or saying.

merely that he was a god.COMMENTARY ON JOHANSEN 283 aware of perceiving with specific sense-modalities. Johansen’s pointing us in the direction of contemporary theories that link first-order consciousness to second-order perception seems to me to have this virtue. : it is mind that hears. the view that we read in Epicharmus (DK B12): . In that case. But those are philosophical considerations. however. no one promised us that Aristotle would always be right. as I construe it in my less charitable moments. as I once thought was not the case. the view that Johansen is attributing to Aristotle may be more like the view that (at least temporarily) occupies center stage in the middle of the Theaetetus. I find such views finally less convincing than first-order representational theories. is comfortably at home with higher-order perception theories. or my fanciful reading here and in later discussions. that dismisses Aristotle’s talk of second-order perception as what I called a ‘faux reflexive. but it may be that he explains it. for it may be the case. It suggests the possibility of a more nuanced understanding of Aristotle’s argument than either Johansen’s own traditional reading of it as concerned with second-order consciousness. with its radical distinction between sensation and conscious perception. as I noted earlier.’ It seems to me that Aristotle is about explaining consciousness. everything else is deaf and blind. That view. that the range of modalities of consciousness is more nuanced than can be captured by the simple distinction I’ve here offered. not hermeneutical ones. to concern me is this question: if we assimilate Aristotle’s argument to this kind of explanation. But mine may be an uncharitable interpretation. What continues. by some distinction in orders of what may be loosely called perception. and to build an inner sense theory on that fact. Or it may be that the reading suggested by Johansen’s paper is designed only to capture the distinction between preoccupied truck drivers and those of us attentive to the world in a more explicit way. such as seeing and hearing. can we still account for the ad infinitum argument and its apparent conclusion that what is responsible for the consciousness of seeing cannot be another sense? HAVERFORD COLLEGE . In any case. and mind that sees. There may be a mode of self awareness that involves neither the mere self presence of first-order consciousness nor the explicit self-objectification of reflective self-consciousness.

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1968. S.JOHANSEN/KOSMAN BIBLIOGRAPHY 285 Shoemaker. Sorabji.” In Rorty and Nussbaum (eds. . R.): 196-203. 1995. “Self-reference and self-awareness.” Journal of Philosophy 65: 555-567. “Intentionality and Physiological Processes: Aristotle’s Theory of Sense-Perception.


including a monograph on Aristotle and Mathematics (Leiden. Cleary is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and Associate Professor of Philosophy at NUI Maynooth (Ireland). after studying philosophy and classics at the Universities of Cambridge. Bridget Clarke has been Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Williams College since 2003. Chicago.D. principally. Louis. he is writing a book on the role of paideia in ancient political thought.ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS Klaus Brinkmann is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. Pittsburgh. He is the editor of Critical Concepts: German Idealism (to appear with Routledge) and is working on a translation of Hegel’s Encyclopaedia Logic for Cambridge University Press. He has published extensively on ancient philosophy. Fichte.A. He was director of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy from 1984 to 1988. Oxford. Currently. where he has been teaching since 1990. 1995). He has published articles on several different issues and figures in ancient philosophy. She was educated at Oxford and the University of Pittsburgh and has articles forthcoming on Descartes’ Meditations and the moral philosophy of Iris Murdoch. and M. Eric Brown is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. where he has taught since 1997. and his Ph. and Jaspers. and. 2006). and is the founding general editor of this series of Proceedings. from Boston University. He has published on Aristotle. She will join the Department of Philosophy at the University of Montana beginning in fall 2006. and is currently finishing a book entitled Idealism Without Limits: Hegel and the Problem of Objectivity. . from University College Dublin.A. Hegel. John J. He was educated at the Universities of Bonn and Tübingen and at Wolfson College. He received his B. and he is the author of Stoic Cosmopolitanism (Cambridge. among others. Schelling.

from Santa Clara University.” History of Platonism: Plato Redivivus (New Orleans.D. Johansen is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. Aristotle. His latest books include Artificio. is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. and at the Weston School of Theology. Hegel and Aristotle (Cambridge and New York. S. He is currently working on a study of the concept of practical wisdom in classical and contemporary ethics and political philosophy. Hilary Putnam and John Paul II. with special attention to Neoplatonism. He is currently teaching at the University of Pisa. Thomas K. His areas of research include ethics. Alfredo Ferrarin received his doctorate from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa in 1990. 2005). from the University of Toronto. immaginazione e giudizio pratico. philosophy of religion and medieval philosophy. He has published over twenty-five articles on the history of philosophy (esp. ETS 2004). his continued research on alienation and otherness in Plotinus is published in two articles. ‘On Matter’ (II 4[12]). Currently. ETS 2001). including a book Plotinus: The Experience of Unity (1988). Cambridge University Press 2001). and “Plotinus: Self and Consciousness. Plato. He has published on ancient philosophy. Hegel. He received an M. Gurtler. at Fordham University. German and American journals and edited volumes. Studio su Aristotele e Kant (Pisa. and Saggezza. His publications include Aristotle on the Sense-Organs (Cambridge 1998) and Plato’s Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias (Cambridge . political philosophy. John Fisher College. Kant.. He was educated at St. Jacques Maritain. University Press of the South.A. his article “The Activity of Happiness in Aristotle’s Ethics” appeared in The Review of Metaphysics (June. Descartes. Husserl and Heidegger) in Italian. He is preparing a book on Kant and imagination in English. and Ph. 2003). from Cambridge. and a B. considerazione di sé. “Plotinus: Matter and Otherness. Colvert is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Assumption College in Worcester.J. He received his BA and Ph.288 ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS Gavin T. desiderio. William Ockham. Epoche 9 (2005) 197-214.A. Massachusetts. He has published essays on the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Most recently. Hobbes e i fondamenti antropologici della politica (Pisa. Gary M.D. Hobbes.

especially on Aristotle’s ethics. The Aim and the Argument of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. and is completing a book. Joyce’s Quotations from Aristotle was recently published by the National Library of Ireland. as well as some ancient Greek medical authors. He is the author of a number of essays in the history of philosophy. at Hebrew University. and in 2003 was Visiting Research Professor at Marquette University. and articles on ancient and medieval philosophy and science. He is the author of Plato on God as Nous (Carbondale. She is currently working on a book entitled The relevance of Aristotle’s ethical theory in the domain of business ethics. His book Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas was reprinted in 2005 by University of Notre Dame Press.ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS 289 2004). University College Dublin. He has held Fulbright and Onassis fellowships. and at the University College London. and at Harvard University. 1995) and Descartes and Augustine (Cambridge. She studied at the Philosophy School of the University of Athens. He is currently writing a book on the faculties of the soul in Aristotle. Aquinas. and Heidegger. Stephen Menn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at McGill University. Aryeh Kosman was educated at The University of California at Berkeley. 1998). he is currently researching the influence of Aristotle and Aquinas on James Joyce. She has published on ancient Greek philosophy. as well as on applied ethics. . He has taught at various institutions in the United States and has been at Haverford College since 1962. and on pragmatism. Neoplatonism. He has published widely on Plato. Athens. Fran O’Rourke is Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophy. He was educated at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. Ioanna Patsioti-Tsacpounidis is Professor I of Philosophy at Deree College. Aristotle. primarily on Plato and Aristotle. where he is John Whitehead Professor of Philosophy. psychology and epistemology. A monograph ‘Allwisest Stagyrite’. to be published by Oxford University Press. She has also translated various articles and two books from English into Greek and vice versa. Her recent book in Greek examines the classical American pragmatists.

Plotin et la procession. Essai sur la réception contemporaine de la pensée politique platonicienne (Napoli. les démocrates et la démocratie. Jean-François Pradeau published a French translation and commentary of Heraclitus’s Fragments 5paris. He is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France. Ion. Flammarion. among which Plato and the City: a new Introduction to Plato’s Political Thought (Exeter University Press. from treatise 1 to 37). Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle (1989. He has published two books on Greek ethics. of the French translation of Plotinus’s treatises in the Flammarion series (five volumes published in 2006. 2002) and most recently Platon. W. and is the co-editor. . the Statesman and the Laws) and published studies on Plato’s philosophy. Vrin. also papers on Greek and contemporary ethics. He translated in French several of Plato’s dialogs (Hippias maior. 2002). 2003. He studied Philosophy in Paris.290 ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS Jean-François Pradeau teaches history of ancient philosophy in the University of Paris X – Nanterre. University of London. Phd on Plato’s Critias in 1995 (University of Lille). A. He also published an essay on Plotinus: L’imitation du principe. Bibliopolis. He is currently preparing a book on practical reasoning and reasons. 2005). and Mental Conflict (1995). Price is Reader in Philosophy at Birkbeck College. and. Paris. with Luc Brisson. with Luc Brisson. Philebus. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford. 1997).

17-19.. 46. 32 Foot.. 19. 229 Greenwood. 277 Gera. 169.. 176-177 Bertrand.. 218..... 175 Demosthenes. J. 5 Day Lewis. V. D.L.. M. 229 David..-A. L. 12. 26. M. 28. 41-42.B. 202-203. 84 Dawson. 223-224. C. 274 Burnyeat. 132 Cooper.. 155 Connor. 235.. 277-283 Armstrong.H.. E.. 241242. M. M. 8 Davis. 21 Bergson. 215-216. 156.... 178 Eliot. L. M. 173 Botros.. J. 251. E. 213-217. 257.W. 194. 213-214. T. 14 Bostock. 158-159 Emerson.. 226. 2-3. 224. 226 Critias. 211.E. P. G. G. 270. 193 Bakhurst.. 259-260. 113-116. 40. 264-266. 109 Clark. 240257.. 219-230. G... 21.R.W. S. 194. 125.C. 273-274 Bolton. 159 Cross. 5. R.. M.. 134 Denniston. A. 259-276. 199212. 269. 93-94 Frege. 191-197.. 4.. W.. 14 Figueira. 132 Black.. R. 277 Carter.INDEX Annas.G.R. 39. 274 Cleanthes. 127 Caston. 162 Eudoxus. 135 Gennaro. 42 Confucius. D. 7. G. D. 142. 92 Gargarin. 5. 209. P. 222. 218 Boswell. 251-252 Carruthers.. J. M. 118. 277-279 Austin.. 202 Fortenbaugh. 5 Constantini.M. 1-8. 71.J. 120 Diogenes Laertius. S. 1. 178-184. 208. 6 Brisson. P.. 125-126. 10-11. 247 Descartes. H. M. 90... 15... 6. 82-86. 192. J-. 231. 202 Eco.. J. B... 255-256. E. 67 Bowersock. 252 Bordes.. 255. 226-227. R. 212 Bandini. 132 Gastaldi. 5 Gill. 235-238. 245 Gottlieb. 41 Cartledge.. 274-275. S. 6. 30. 218-220. D. 57-81. D.L. 10. 5. 52 Ferrari. 229 Anscombe.. 44 Dodds. 245-249. W. L. 30..M.. 259.. 98 Cleomenes. 31 Dostoyevsky. N. J. 221 Griffith. D. 66-68. 5 Dancy.. R. 175 Freudenthal. 213. 155-177. 260. 268. 198... P. 50 Dorion. 225 Aristotle. 126. R.. 32. 22. 1-2. 282 Chrysippus.. 118-120.. G. J.G. J... 131 Broadie. 14 . 173 Block. 48-52 Croce. J... 32-34.. 204-207. F. L. 235.L. 223 Frede.M. 276. 13.R. 114-116. 51-52.. 89-111.

. 109 Heidegger. 203-204 Murchland. 183 Müller. 11.. 182 Millet. 183 Murphy. B. 162-163 Herodotus. S... 5 Murry. 9-12. R. O. A.. D. 52-54. 218. 157 Kosman. S. 100. 90-91.H. 259-262. A.. 213. 5 Lévy. T. 212. 138. 33 Johansen. 224 Kirby... 282 Johnson. 278 Lycan. 92.. 53 Popp. J.... 47.. 224-226. 149 Pender. M. 28. 213. 247 . 170.B.H.. 94. 5..D. R. 198. G... K. 255-257. 221..C.... G. 11. 84 Güzeldere. N. 220 Lallot. 132-133 Little.F.W. 6 McDowell.W. 211. 250. 169 Kenny.. 90. F. 195. A. A.. 10. 5. 228. 140152.. M. 47-50.A. 243 Hansen. 126 MacIntyre.. 75. 7. 171 Mattingly. 121 Moorehouse. H. 274-275 Hamlyn. 125-137. 5 Osborne.. 224 Isocrates..M. 162 Maffi. 252.L. M. N. E. 235.. 22. 108. 202 Hume. C. 270 Hobbes. W. 191-192. J. 110 Hodkinson. 156. J. 242-243. 94.. 244... 248 Moran. 32-33. J. J. 126.. T.. F.R. 244. 138-140.E.C.. 42. 120 Irwin. 29. J. 126 Jacoby.. 99 Lysias. 273-275.D. E. 237 John Duns Scotus. 235. 236.H.. 133 Malebranche. 262 Ober. D. 1. J. 270 Pakaluk.. 66. 198. M. 104. 42 Höffe. 216. 156 Plato. 131 Lloyd. 240-241. 210. H. A... 163-164.. 33... 155 Hicks. 155 Newman. M. G.. A. 5 Hornblower. 230 Nussbaum. T.R.. 27 Momigliano. 7. P. 27. 178-179 Lucretius.. 13-45. B. M. 203.... M. T. 127 Mirhady. 24.W. 235 Miller. 99. 203 Pangle. 96.. 132 Lance.. A. 246. 194. 109 Plutarch. G. 93. 1-10. I. H. 213. 275-276 Kraut. 125 Hegel.... 209. 210 Lipka.T. 8-9. D. 5. E.. 109 Kenner. D. 32 Lisi.K. 92. 126. 6-8. 248. 10 Modrak. M. 277279 Lycos. 228. 211.M. 51. 91 Husserl. 173 Josephus. F. 117. 231 Mellor. 39. V. 173 Kant. 194.. 210 Leroux. 6. 12. 53 Polybius. G. 215.. 247-248 Plotinus. 212. 8-9 Joyce.. 142-143. 150 Pascal. R. 251. 7.. 6 Hugo. 269. 30.. 219.E. J.. 200..292 INDEX OF NAMES Gurtler.

5 Vasiliou. 35-36. 134-135 Zeno. 143. 248-249. 8 White.P. 92 Reeve.M. J. P.. 282 Schoemaker. 215. 52. 262 Rosenthal. 5. Croix. A. 3133. 10. 51. 33. 131-132. 5 Wiggins. 19-21. D. 105.. 173 Richardson.. T. 6 Strauss. 126 Yunis. 98.. 221-222 Wittgenstein.-P. 246-247 Todd. 176 Stanford. M. C. K.R. 209.. 128 Rorty.N.. 258-259 Schofield. 109 . 195. 251.A. 93. 9. 200-201 Proclus. 99 Simplicius. C. 166 Vogler. 103 Sartre. L. 27-29. 125-127 Trampedach. C. M.. 23.. 170. 1.. 2 Porphyry.. 260 Ross. 226. 262 Spurgeon...O. H.. 161. 192. 2. 44-52. 226 Vico. 44-45. K.. 7 Thomas Aquinas.D. D.. G. 11. 6.. 15. S.. P... D. 99 Woods.. 156 de Ste. 100 Rebenich. G. 5 Richards. 281 Thucydides. 70.C.. 40. 2. 93... 220 Watson. 8 Rees. 47. S. 209. 217 Woozley. 231. M. 2-6.E. 93 Ryle. W.. 147. 212. G. 13. A. E. 159-160 de Vio.. 213. 219 Ricoeur.. 156 Tigerstedt. 180 de Romilly. 250 Socrates... 152.W. 243.M. 1. 2 Protagoras. 203.. I. 278 Sorabji. S. R. 66.... 14.INDEX OF NAMES 293 Popper. 22.A. 49-52. 5 Xenophon. H.. 93.D. 251. I. 126. D. L. 26-27. 5. A. 52-53 Treu.. N. 149-150 Swiggers. 198. 43 Theophrastus.B. 161 Price.. G. H.C... 6.. 203 van Wees. 149. J.

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