Phil-100A-Hndt-6-F-10

Phil-100A-Hndt-6-F-10 - Phil 100A: Ethics F 10 Handout #6:...

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Phil 100A: Ethics F 10 Professor Aaron Zimmerman Handout #6: Aristotle I I. The Practical Regress Argument: “The things achievable by action have some end that we wish for because of itself, and because of which we wish for the other things, and . . . we do not choose everything because of something else—for if we [did] it would go on without limit so that desire would prove empty and futile. This end is the good, that is to say, the best good” (1094a20). Suppose S wants to x and hopes that she will x. The skeptic asks S what reason she has for wanting or hoping to x. S can reply by saying: (a) that by x-ing she will y x or get y x and (b) that she wants to y (or to get y). But why, the skeptic asks, does S want to y (or get y)? S can reply by saying (a’) that by y-ing or getting y she will z y (or get z y), and (b’) that she wants to z (or to get z). The skeptic wants to show that S has no good reason for wanting, hoping for anything, or doing x: that to x or to do anything else would be “empty and futile.” The skeptic thinks that he can show the futility of action if: (i) S justifies desire to do something by invoking an end that she has already cited (e.g. I want to buy more pigs so I can get more money so I can buy more pigs so I can get more money…). Moreover, the skeptic claims: (ii) S can’t go on forever. But if (iii) S just stops because she can’t give us any reason why she
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2010 for the course PHIL 100A taught by Professor Mcmahon during the Fall '09 term at UCSB.

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Phil-100A-Hndt-6-F-10 - Phil 100A: Ethics F 10 Handout #6:...

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