By Edward Craig
How ought we to dwell? What relatively exists? How will we understand? This e-book introduces vital subject matters in ethics, wisdom, and the self, through readings from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hegel, Darwin, and Buddhist writers. It emphasizes during the aspect of learning philosophy, explains how various components of philosophy are similar, and explores the contexts within which philosophy used to be and is studied.
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Extra resources for Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
If Socrates had had to choose to between risking his friends’ lives and damaging his children’s education, which should he have chosen? How lucky for him that he didn’t! What an 46 advantage if we could settle on just one basic value, and measure everything else by the extent to which it leads to that one thing. No surprise, then, that there have been ethical theories of just that kind. An early one, well worth reading about, is that of Epicurus (341–271 bc). For him and his followers, the one and only thing valuable in itself was pleasure.
An answer with a long history – we have already seen a version of it in Crito – is that it arises out of some kind of contract or agreement between individuals and the state of which they are citizens. It is a very natural answer. A person might agree to accept the authority of another (in a certain area of activity) because he saw substantial beneﬁt (for himself) in doing so, and in return for that beneﬁt. Most would accept that such an arrangement legitimates the other’s authority over him as far as their agreement reaches, provided that agreement was voluntary.
You do meet trafﬁc jams like this sometimes, and it would be a poor guide who tried to cover it up. We need some creative reading at this stage. For instance: are we to think of the king as just getting confused, and losing track of what has been said? Or is it that he simply can’t believe that there is no such person, and therefore thought that Nagasena was bound to answer ‘Yes’ to at least one of his questions; since he answered ‘No’ to all of them, at least one answer must have been false, and that is the falsehood the king means when he says ‘You, revered sir, .