• Alkis Piskas
    1.1k

    Fair enough.
    ... But, hey, you still didn't answer me! :smile:
  • Hello Human
    171
    But, hey, you still didn't answer me! :smile:Alkis Piskas

    Sorry for that! Do you mind saying what your reply was ?
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k


    One thing that should not be overlooked is that, as with the question of justice in the Republic, the question of virtue is of concern to those who raise these questions. It matters. That it matters, that we care, is not something that can be taught. It is a necessary condition for it to be taught and learned.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.1k
    Do you mind saying what your reply was ?Hello Human
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/720343
    But it's too late now. I have deleted it about a week ago.
  • Tobias
    788
    The right thing to do is indeed to get rid of the phobia, but is knowing that you must get rid of it sufficient to get rid of it, or are there other factors other than knowledge at play ?Hello Human

    Something Aristotle called practical wisdom. Knowing is not enough because unless one acts one does not get rid of the phobia. So it is a composition of action and knowledge, or in Aristotelian terms actualized knowledge
  • Hello Human
    171
    Knowing is not enough because unless one acts one does not get rid of the phobiaTobias

    :up:

    I imagine from there we can generalize and conclude that there is more to virtuous action than knowledge. So it seems virtue is not equal to knowledge.

    And now we have also distinguished between wisdom and knowledge. So it seems the conclusion for now is: wisdom is equivalent to virtue but not equivalent to knowledge.
  • Tobias
    788
    I imagine from there we can generalize and conclude that there is more to virtuous action than knowledge. So it seems virtue is not equal to knowledge.

    And now we have also distinguished between wisdom and knowledge. So it seems the conclusion for now is: wisdom is equivalent to virtue but not equivalent to knowledge.
    Hello Human

    I think this all is correct...
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Knowing is not enough because unless one acts one does not get rid of the phobia. So it is a composition of action and knowledge, or in Aristotelian terms actualized knowledgeTobias

    From the IEP article Aristotle:Ethics

    The word hexis [habit] becomes an issue in Plato‘s Theaetetus. Socrates makes the point that knowledge can never be a mere passive possession, stored in the memory the way birds can be put in cages. The word for that sort of possession, ktÎsis, is contrasted with hexis, the kind of having-and-holding that is never passive but always at work right now. Socrates thus suggests that, whatever knowledge is, it must have the character of a hexis in requiring the effort of concentrating or paying attention. A hexis is an active condition, a state in which something must actively hold itself, and that is what Aristotle says a moral virtue is. [emphasis added]

    He goes on to say:

    ...he first discovers what sort of thing a virtue is by observing that the goodness is never in the action but only in the doer.

    The formulation "virtue is knowledge" does not mean passive knowledge of what virtue is. It is, rather, knowing as an active doing.
  • Tobias
    788
    Yes, but is this doing applied to the act of knowing only, or, and that was Hello Human's point I guess, is knowing, even as an act of knowing, not enough, and is virtue displayed in practical situations that do not only involve knowing? A courageous soldier knows the right man, but also acts upon this knowledge. That knowledge itself is also an action, does not answer this question.
  • Athena
    2.1k
    In his Socratic dialogues, (or at the very least those that I know enough about to say this), Plato presents an interesting proposition about virtue: Virtue is just another name for wisdom. So if you are wise, you are virtuous, and vice versa.

    An objection to this is that even though some virtues may be reducible to wisdom, there is at least one virtue that is completely independent from wisdom, the most prominent example one could advance being courage. How can one reduce the sheer willpower behind the virtue of courage to a simple matter of knowing and not knowing, you may ask ?

    To defend Plato's view from the example of courage, one might say that willpower is not in our control. And if it's not in our control, then there is no such thing as a virtue involving having willpower. So the virtue of courage is not really about willpower, perhaps it is more about being wise enough to exploit whatever willpower we have to achieve one's goals.

    But what do you think ? Is virtue really just equal to wisdom, or is there a plurality of virtues, each independent from the other(s) ? Or are all the virtues reducible to something that is not equal to wisdom ?
    Hello Human

    Children can learn virtues but they lack the years of experience required for wisdom. That means virtues are reducible to something that is not equal to wisdom.

    There is a plurality of virtues and moderation must go with courage or you get a nut case with very bad judgment such as someone who has gone berserk.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k


    It is not an act of knowing but a state of knowledge. This state is not achieved by knowing abot something.

    From the IEP:

    Aristotle’s first description of moral virtue required that the one acting choose an action knowingly, out of a stable equilibrium of the soul, and for its own sake. The knowing in question turned out to be perceiving things as they are, as a result of the habituation that clears our sight. The stability turned out to come from the active condition of all the powers of the soul, in the mean position opened up by that same habituation, since it neutralized an earlier, opposite, and passive habituation to self-indulgence.

    Aristotle ties this all together under the idea of to kalon, the beautiful. The beautiful connects the perceiver with things perceived as they are. One must be in the proper state, be a beautiful soul, in order to perceive the beauty of things as they are. More specifically, to know that these choices and actions are beautiful and those ugly.
  • Tobias
    788
    One must be in the proper state, be a beautiful soul, in order to perceive the beauty of things as they are. More specifically, to know that these choices and actions are beautiful and those ugly.Fooloso4

    Yes, but from that follows that knowledge as perceiving is not enough for virtue because this knowledge is only actualized in action, no? Actually what I get from the article is that virtue only arises in action. A further assumption must be made to make the claim that knowledge by itself is (a) virtue sound, that is that a knowledgable person will also act upon that knowledge. That to me seems a shaky assumption though, though might well be one made by Ari.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Yes, but from that follows that knowledge as perceiving is not enough for virtue because this knowledge is only actualized in action, no?Tobias

    As I understand it, it is the state of being of the virtuous person that is actualized. This is the case whether one acts on that knowledge or not. But yes, it would be wrong to consider virtue in the absence of action.

    That to me seems a shaky assumption though, though might well be one made by Ari.Tobias

    This distinction is often blurred in such discussions.

    ...he first discovers what sort of thing a virtue is by observing that the goodness is never in the action but only in the doer.
    .

    I might do something considered virtuous but that does not make me virtuous. My reason for doing it might have nothing to do with virtue.
  • Tobias
    788
    As I understand it, it is the state of being of the virtuous person that is actualized. This is the case whether one acts on that knowledge or not. But yes, it would be wrong to consider virtue in the absence of action.Fooloso4

    Yes, but the virtue would be entirely without consequence if you would not act on it and that seems wasteful. Being wasteful hardly seems virtuous. A soldier who knows what to do and acts on it, seems to me more worthy than a soldier who knows what to do but stays passive.

    I might do something considered virtuous but that does not make me virtuous. My reason for doing it might have nothing to do with virtue.Fooloso4

    Yes, Kant made a similar point centuries later and it is a point well taken. However, I think we should be watchful to make virtue entirely subjective, in the sense of a quality of the subject. It threatens to overburden the subjective side and we will only be able to judge actors and not acts. To me the attraction of virtue ethics rests in the reciprocal or perhaps dialectical relation. The virtuous person is virtuous because he displays virtue, he acts.In the action the virtue is highlighted. Without knowledge of course the act is random, but without action knowledge is pointless.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Yes, but the virtue would be entirely without consequence if you would not act on it and that seems wasteful.Tobias

    But we do act. There is no getting around that.

    What guides our actions? Aristotle's answer is we act according to the way we are disposed.

    I think we should be watchful to make virtue entirely subjective, in the sense of a quality of the subject.Tobias

    I agree. I think Aristotle would as well. He lived the examined life. Central to his ethics is deliberation. He typically reviewed the opinions of others. He gave rational arguments in favor of one opinion over others.
  • Hello Human
    171
    Socrates makes the point that knowledge can never be a mere passive possession, stored in the memory the way birds can be put in cages. The word for that sort of possession, ktÎsis, is contrasted with hexis, the kind of having-and-holding that is never passive but always at work right now. Socrates thus suggests that, whatever knowledge is, it must have the character of a hexis in requiring the effort of concentrating or paying attention. A hexis is an active condition, a state in which something must actively hold itself, and that is what Aristotle says a moral virtue is. [emphasis added]

    Interesting point. But a little vague it seems to me. If we take the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief (at least just for the purpose of that discussion), and that we say that it is something requiring mental effort, what does it mean exactly? Does it mean that we have to continuously put in effort to justify it ? Or does it mean that we have to constantly put in effort to believe in it ? Or both ?
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    Perhaps eupraxia rather than episteme (of arete)? Reflective practice, not just "knowledge"?

    The 4 cardinal virtues:

    1. Sophia/Prudentia
    2. Fortitudo
    3. Iustitia
    4. Temperantia

    Are these 4 virtues internally consistent?
    Agent Smith
    They seem a compatible, even complementary, quartet.
  • Hello Human
    171
    he first discovers what sort of thing a virtue is by observing that the goodness is never in the action but only in the doer.Fooloso4

    Given that the main preoccupation of ethics at that time was the telos of human beings, it seems to me that goodness would be what gets one closer to that telos. So goodness would lie both in the action and the doer.
  • Hello Human
    171
    Children can learn virtuesAthena

    :up:

    they lack the years of experience required for wisdomAthena

    It seems to me that years of experience are neither necessary nor even sufficient for wisdom. They can definitely help foster it, but years of experience are useless without the use of reason to extract knowledge from them. Of course children have neither fully developed reason nor years of experience, but I’d say that, on average, they have some wisdom.

    moderation must go with courage or you get a nut case with very bad judgment such as someone who has gone berserk.Athena

    :up:
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    They seem a compatible, even complementary, quartet.180 Proof

    Obviously, Aristotle (the author) was no fool!
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    If we take the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief (at least just for the purpose of that discussion)Hello Human

    But for the purpose of this discussion, what is meant by knowledge is not justified true belief.

    it is something requiring mental effort, what does it mean exactly?Hello Human

    It means, as @180 Proof pointed out that hexis is a matter of praxis of active doing rather than a passive condition. It is not as if one attains a state of knowledge from which one can then act virtuously based on that knowledge. There is still, in particular situations, the need for moral deliberation.

    Does it mean that we have to continuously put in effort to justify it ?Hello Human

    Not to justify it, but to make the right choice in an attempt to do what is best.

    Or does it mean that we have to constantly put in effort to believe in it ?Hello Human

    It is not a matter of belief.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Given that the main preoccupation of ethics at that time was the telos of human beings, it seems to me that goodness would be what gets one closer to that telos. So goodness would lie both in the action and the doer.Hello Human

    Rather than goodness being what gets one closer to that telos, what gets one closer to that telos is what is good, what is in accord with human nature.

    So goodness would lie both in the action and the doer.Hello Human

    The question is what kind of thing a virtue is. If we look at the act itself we might regard it as good, but that does not mean it is a virtuous act. If what we regard as good in the act is not what was intended then the act was not virtuous even if the consequences are regarded as good.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Does it mean that we have to continuously put in effort to justify it ?Hello Human

    Follow up: It requires continued work in order to maintain:

    a stable equilibrium of the soul,
  • Athena
    2.1k
    It seems to me that years of experience are neither necessary nor even sufficient for wisdom. They can definitely help foster it, but years of experience are useless without the use of reason to extract knowledge from them. Of course children have neither fully developed reason nor years of experience, but I’d say that, on average, they have some wisdom.Hello Human

    I was raised by a mother who thought I was a child with great wisdom. I have tried to live up to that my whole life. :rofl: The older I get, the less wise I think I am. I look back on my life with horror about how much I did not understand. I wish we lived at least 300 years. I am concerned that if we live only 100 years, we might still not know enough to be sure of our wisdom. Truly Socrates was the wisest, because he knew there was so much he did not know.

    And of course, just getting old does not assure we gain any wisdom at all. I used to think rich people were intellectually superior and then I met some well-off people and I was horribly disappointed about them not exactly being the intellectual people I expected them to be. They didn't know any more than the poor folk and didn't care any more than the poor folk. Their life goals were pretty much about money and social status, not gaining wisdom.

    However, I want to make a point that how our brains function literally changes with age. The Greeks doubted if anyone could learn anything of a philosophical nature until at least age 30 and when we did have liberal education it was part of our culture to think age 30 was still youth and just beginning to be capable of serious thinking.

    While a google search leads to mostly negative explanations of the age brain, there is a positive....

    Aging may also bring positive cognitive changes. For example, many studies have shown that older adults have more extensive vocabularies and greater knowledge of the depth of meaning of words than younger adults. Older adults may also have learned from a lifetime of accumulated knowledge and experiences.6 days ago

    How the Aging Brain Affects Thinkinghttps://www.nia.nih.gov › health › how-aging-brain-affect...
    — National Institute on Aging

    That means it is too late for me to learn math, but I can enjoy the wonder of pi and the history of math and appreciate the importance of math. I can also be angery with sexist father who prepared his son to be an engineer and insisted I major in home economics. :lol: I really really wish I understood the value of math when I was young enough to develop those neurons. My IQ would be much higher if I had learned advanced math.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    The older I get, the less wise I think I am.Athena

    Second childhood! To be one with the Tao, all you gotta do is reach a ripe old age, eh?

    I was [am] a child with great wisdomAthena

    :up:

    Mother knows best!
  • Hello Human
    171
    But for the purpose of this discussion, what is meant by knowledge is not justified true belief.Fooloso4

    If those are the terms on which you want to start from, so be it.

    It means, as 180 Proof pointed out that hexis is a matter of praxis of active doing rather than a passive condition. It is not as if one attains a state of knowledge from which one can then act virtuously based on that knowledge. There is still, in particular situations, the need for moral deliberation.Fooloso4

    But the point of moral deliberation is to attain a state of knowledge from which we can act virtuously.

    but to make the right choice in an attempt to do what is best.Fooloso4

    So, if I understand, we must put in continuous effort to make the right choice, and that right choice is knowledge?
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    But the point of moral deliberation is to attain a state of knowledge from which we can act virtuously.Hello Human

    But that is not what Plato and Aristotle thought.

    So, if I understand, we must put in continuous effort to make the right choice, and that right choice is knowledge?Hello Human

    The effort is to maintain a stable equilibrium of the soul. It is in this state of being that we are most likely to make good choices. This is not a state of knowledge. What the right choice is, is in many cases not something we know. Aporia is the condition for moral deliberation.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    The wise one avoids problems.
    The virtuous one solves problems.

    :snicker:
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