By T. Pangle, J. Lomax
Political societies often regard philosophers as strength threats to morality and faith, and people who communicate for politics usually call for a security of philosophy. This booklet will handle philosophy as a style of lifestyles positioned into question.
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Extra info for Political Philosophy Cross-Examined : Perennial Challenges to the Philosophic Life
These critics go further than Aristotle’s own previous formulations of the alternative to the political life: they seem to suggest, not merely that the transpolitical life is “more choiceworthy” than is the political, but that the political life is choiceworthy only under duress. 12 Yet, these upholders of the transpolitical life are not presented as explicitly referring to “happiness,” let alone “blessedness”; why not? Could this be connected with their not mentioning either philosophy or the noble, and with their seeming to be concerned with justice mainly in terms of avoiding grave injustice?
And an exercise of judgment on the part of a man such as Aristotle presupposes reasons that ground the judgment. Would he not have left traces of those reasons in his books, if only for the sake of a certain subclass of his readers that he alludes to from time to time (1113a22–25, 1095b10; consider in this light 1095a30–b8 and compare Plato Seventh Letter 341e2–3)? But where are such traces to be found? Our difficulty is connected with the fact that Aristotle does not offer to make a case that most of his readers do not demand of him on behalf of the moral-political life, the life to which prudence belongs and which in a way it governs.
At the outset, Aristotle tables the question whether the best life for all or almost all humans in communities is not distinct from what is the best life for at least certain individuals living in some sort of (inner, spiritual) detachment. But after having broached this question, our teacher immediately says that “what ought to be used now” are “many things we believe to be said adequately” in certain “exoteric” (popular) “speeches about the best life” (1323a19–24). ” What is more, he stresses that he has conjured up certain objectors, some of whose challenges, he says, have not been adequately responded to (1323b37–24a4).