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Virtue, Happiness, KnowledgeThemes from the Work of Gail Fine and Terence Irwin$
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David O. Brink, Susan Sauvé Meyer, and Christopher Shields

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198817277

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198817277.001.0001

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A Series of Goods

A Series of Goods

(p.129) 7 A Series of Goods
Virtue, Happiness, Knowledge

Christopher Shields

Oxford University Press

Aristotle criticizes Plato’s Form of the Good, insisting that goodness is not ‘something common, universal, and one’ (EN 1096a28). He rejects Plato’s univocity assumption to the effect that goodness admits of a single, non-disjunctive essence-specifying account, contending among other things that the Platonists themselves agree that there are no Forms set over ordered series, such as the series of natural numbers. Since good things are arranged as such a series, presumably from the highest good to the least good, it should follow as a direct consequence that there simply is no Form of the Good, even on the Platonists’ own terms. Yet both premises in this argument are perplexing. First, why should the Platonists allow no Forms set over items arranged in a series? Second, even granting that they do (or must), why should they also allow that good things form a series akin to the series of natural numbers?

Keywords:   Aristotle, Aristotle’s criticisms of Plato, essence, Form of the Good, Forms, Plato, priority, series, univocity

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