The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy

By Bernard Williams; Myles Burnyeat | Go to book overview

TWELVE
Aristotle on the Good: A Formal Sketch

This paper attempts a simple formal treatment of Aristotle's discussion of the good in Nicomachean Ethics I 1–7 (1094 a 1–1098 a 20). Its aim is to distinguish some of the leading concepts used by Aristotle, and to examine some of the logical relations between them; with the particular purpose of establishing what premisses, granted the formal apparatus, are sufficient or necessary for some of the main conclusions supposedly established by Aristotle in this passage.

We shall use first-order predicate calculus with identity and with the modal operator “N” = “it is necessary that”. Variables “x”, “y”, etc., will range over the arts, enquiries, actions, etc. (1094 a 1 seq) which can in the broadest sense be pursued, and which Aristotle regards as the subject matter of his enquiry into the good. We shall use one primitive predicate letter “P”, which will however have two rôles, as standing for a one-place and for a two-place predicate. “Px” is to be interpreted “x is pursued”; “Pxy” is to be interpreted “x is pursued for the sake of y”. In these interpretations, the terms “pursued” and “pursued for the sake of” are intended to cover a number of expressions used by Aristotle, but which, at least in the discussion under consideration, he seems to use interchangeably, such as “aims at”, “is desired for the sake of”, etc. Some further remarks about the interpretation of “P” will follow the next paragraph.

1094 a 1 seq gives us, a little tentatively, a statement which is presupposed throughout the discussion: that everything that is pursued is pursued for the sake of something; we may trivially add that everything pursued for the sake of something is pursued:

(1) (x) [Px ↔ (∃y) Pxy].

We may add further that if x is pursued for the sake of y, y is itself pursued:

(2) (x) (y) [Pxy→ Py].

The discussion of the architectonic relations in cc. 1, 2 init. make it clear that the relation “Pxy” must be transitive and, for different values of x and y, asymmetrical:

-198-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 393

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.