John Armstrong

In Plato’s Laws, the Athenian Stranger says that the universe’s parts, which include human beings, come to be and “strive” for the sake of the universe as a whole. This implies two kinds of holism: cosmic rational holism, the view that the ultimate justification of a part’s activity is its contribution to the good of the universe as a whole; and cosmic motivational holism, the view that the universe’s parts are motivated to contribute to the good of the universe as a whole. If Plato is a holist in these senses, then we should modify the common assumption that Plato is an egoist of either the rational or psychological sort. I argue that Plato is a cosmic holist in the Laws, that his holism arises from a teleological conception of the universe similar to Aristotle’s, and that Plato's holism can ground egoistic and altruistic concerns.

Friday, September 01, 2017
"The Striving Parts of Plato's Universe"
Gibson Room
4:00 PM
Institutional Affiliation: 
Southern Virginia University
Semester Offered: