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Interpretation of Aristotle
He is NOT a relativist (most other contemporary phil think he is b/c of virtues. Virtue ethics, virtue is dependent on culture thus is relative).
Nussbaum 2 arguments
- Nameless Virtue Argument
- Grounding Experiences Argument
Nameless Virtue Argument
- Premise: If virtues and vices are relative to the culture, then there must/would be names for them. But Aristotle lists virtues that don't have a name.
- Conclusion: Therefore virtues and vice are NOT relative for Aristotle
ie over indulgence, moderation, ?
Grounding Experiences Argument
aka shared experiences or spheres of experience
- universal to human beings based on limitations b/c we are human beings
- ie humor or fear of death
- We have grounding experiences which lead to nominal/thin definitions which lead to full/thicke definition
Grounding Experience Example
- Grounding Experience is thunder.
- Hear the noise of thunder. First conclude that its that noise in the clouds, whatever it is.
Could be A Zuess in the clouds, B other, C Scientific Explination
Based on grounding experience not culture
Potential Fear of Death
Courage virtue that confronts death... whatever that is.
How to answer that is A B C, C is correct
3 Objections to her argument
- 1. Just b/c there is one problem does not mean there is JUST one solution.
- 2. There are no grounding experiences (ie pain and pleasure is not universal but culturally based)
- 3. Some of Aristotle's Virtues seem dependent on culture (ie culture changes, virtue disappears)
Objection # 3 Example
- Capitalist vs Marxists
- Capitalists - private property and virtue of generosity developes
- Marxists - No private property, no virtue of generosity developes
which means its relative and not universal
Nussbaum address # 3
Private property disappears but not generosity
- Still be generous and peopel still need help, but in a different way
- Context is reflected in a different way though the virtue is the same!
Nussbaum address # 1
- A. Quiet Revolution (teach Baghledesh women to read)
- 1. Try a general approach but failed. Need new virtue to guide them?
- 2. No no, literacy is the solution. Try more particular approach and it works.
One virtue works