A Critique of Moral Knowledge

A Critique of Moral Knowledge

A Critique of Moral Knowledge

A Critique of Moral Knowledge

Synopsis

This long-awaited book is the first English-language edition of Simon's first book, Critique de la connaissance morale (1934). Not only does this work clarify the first stages of Simon's intellectual career, it is also a major contribution to moral philosophy. A Critique of Moral Knowledge addresses fundamental issues. How does moral knowledge differ from other practical knowledge? What is the relationship between the moral sense, moral philosophy, and cognition in action? Is politics moral philosophy or simply a neutral technique? This elegant translation will be an important contribution to the conversation on philosophy, politics, religion, and ethics.

Excerpt

At the end of the treatise On the Soul, Aristotle asks what is the cause of our moving. He replies that it is both knowledge and desire, but immediately adds a clarification of the first term: the knowledge that causes movement is not just any sort of knowledge, it is practical knowledge.

Both of these then are capable of originating local
movement, mind and appetite: (1) mind, that is,
which calculates means to an end, i.e. mind practical
(it differs from mind speculative in the character of
its end); while (2) appetite is in every form of it rela
tive to an end: for that which is the object of appetite
is the stimulant of mind practical; and that which is
last in the process of thinking is the beginning of the
action.

On the Soul, III. 10.433a (De Anima, trans. J. A. Smith, in The Works of Aristotle III, ed. W. D. Ross [Oxford: Clarendon, 1931]). See also St. Thomas, In III de anima, lectio 15. Besides this passage from On the Soul, the most important Aristotelian texts concerning the general distinction of theoretical and practical intelligence seem to be: De motu animalium, VI.700b24, commented on by Albert the Great, De motibus progressivis, tractatus 1, chaps. 2, 3, and 4, and by Peter of Auvergne, In de mot. an., lectiones 4–5 (a commentary included with those of St. Thomas on the Parva Naturalia in the Venice edition of 1566). For other texts of Aristotle on the same subject, see Georges Rodier, Aristote: Traité de l’âme, 2 vols. (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1900), II, p. 537. For the texts

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