Note 6Plato’s Ethics Depends on his Epistemology and Metaphysics

Note 6Plato’s Ethics Depends on his Epistemology and Metaphysics

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P10F07H7 Plato’s Ethics Depends on his Epistemology and Metaphysics 0. Two traditions about moral philosophy or ethics: 1) It can be done relatively independently of other disciples which discover what the universe is, what man is, and what man’s place in the rest of the universe is. Ethics is about what is good and bad, right and wrong, and these things can be discovered relatively independently of the other arts and sciences; ethics is an autonomous discipline. See e.g. Republic, pp. 200-1, where right and wrong, good and bad are defined by the approval or disapproval of the public, and beautiful things by the admiration of the crowd. This view Plato opposes. 2) We cannot know what is good or bad, right or wrong, without knowing what knowledge is, what the universe is like, what human beings are and their place in the universe. This is Plato’s own view in the R. Hence, the structure of the Republic: ethical and political ideals in Bks I-V; some of their grounds in epistemology and metaphysics (with math, astronomy, physics, medicine and the other arts in the background), in Bks. V, VI, VIII; back to ethics and political philosophy (and even aesthetics) in Bks. VIII, IX, and X. 1.
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Note 6Plato’s Ethics Depends on his Epistemology and Metaphysics

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