Non-univocity and the Incommensurability of Goodness

Christopher Shields (George N. Shuster Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame)

Date & Time:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


JRC 247
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

Upper-level philosophy students are encouraged to attend.

Aristotle criticizes Plato’s Form of the Good by insisting that goodness is not ‘something common, universal, and one’ (κοινόν τι καθόλου καὶ ἕν; EN1096a28).  Still, he is happy to insist in his own right that there is some  ‘highest (or best) good’ (τἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ ἄριστον; EN 1094a17-21), namely, eudaimonia, under which all subordinate human goods are ordered.  Indeed, he insists that if there were no such overarching good, all action would ultimately be in vain.  Although perfectly consistent with one another, these remarks do introduce a genuine tension into Aristotle’s approach to the commensurability of good things—a tension whose exploration points toward some further difficulties in his metaphysics of goodness.

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