If we do not abandon, as ethical relativism does, the search for objectively valid norms of conduct, what criteria for such norms can we find? The kind of criteria depends on the type of ethical system – the norms of which we study. By necessity, the criteria in authoritarian ethics are fundamentally different from those in humanistic ethics.

In authoritarian ethics an authority states what is good for man and lays down the laws and norms of conduct; in humanistic ethics man himself is both the norm giver and the subject of the norms, their formal source or regulative agency and their subject matter.

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What is the main task for any state? Providing security, creating a diverse and stable reform-oriented middle class, or unifying the citizenship through education into a strong community? These three views on political theory can be correlated with the names of Machiavelli, Aristotle, and Plato. I will discuss them briefly. 1. Security first: political realism […]

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Plato lived from 428/427 or 424/423 BCE  to 348/347 BCE. He was born and died in Athens, and reached 80. He was a student of Socrates, and started a school of philosophy, the Academy, when he was around 40. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was born in Stagirus, northern Greece. His father died when Aristotle was a child. […]

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This is a short treatise by Aristotle, written approximately around 350B.C. It was originally published in: Ross, W. D. (Ed.) (1930). The works of Aristotle (vol. 3). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Translated by J. I. Beare. Part 1 We have, in the next place, to treat of Memory and Remembering, considering its nature, its cause, and the […]

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This text is a foundational text of Western philosophy; it was written in 350 B.C.E. In it, Aristotle defines the nature of philosophy in relation to scientific knowledge. He starts with human curiosity – the desire to know does not need any further explanation.His approach differs from Plato: knowledge starts with the senses, but the […]

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It’s one of the classics of Western Philosophy. You can find the full text at the Internet Classics Archive, here. Quotes from the Nicomachean Ethics (c. 325 BC): We are not studying in order to know what virtue is, but to become good, for otherwise there would be no profit in it. (NE 2.2) If […]

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Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics addresses the character and the behavior of the individual (virtue ethics.) At the end of this book, he declares that the inquiry into ethics necessarily leads to politics, and his book Politics therefore deals with the “philosophy of human affairs” in the city.  The city is for him a natural community, therefore […]

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