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Levels of ArgumentA Comparative Study of Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics$
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Dominic Scott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199249640

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199249640.001.0001

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The Longer Route

The Longer Route

(p.42) 3 The Longer Route
Levels of Argument

Dominic Scott

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines what books VI–VII say about the longer route, which would examine the nature and value of justice (and the other virtues) on the basis of knowledge of the Forms, especially the Form of the Good. This is the route that the guardians of the ideal state would have to take. The chapter looks closely at a passage in book VI where Socrates starts to describe the route, and then explains how the rest of the central books fill out this description. It then discusses the central points of difference between the longer and shorter routes, focusing on the use of hypothesis, the role of perception, and the nature of dialectic. Finally the chapter turns to the question of whether Socrates himself actually takes the longer route in the central books themselves. The conclusion is that he does not: he merely describes what doing so would be like.

Keywords:   Form of the Good, dialectic, philosopher rulers, hypothesis, rational reconstruction, sun analogy

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