6/16/12

Aristotle gives first place to honor


Aristotle gives first place to honor 
Honor is not something one generally wills
 It is something that is conferred by others
Or given by oneself to another
It is a characteristic not an action

Aristotle's list of virtues is noted on page 178 
of "What Nietzsche Really Said" 
by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins.
They are temperance 
liberality
 magnificence
 justice
 truthfulness
 wittiness
 friendliness
 and honor
the latter being "all-embracing"

Aristotle's emphasis on honor 
no doubt lies behind honor's survival as a "value" 
But honor and these other characteristic are not values 
They have no essential worth
They are possible virtues and nothing more

Indeed honor is what Shakespeare correctly observed 
via Falstaff 
died on Wednesday.
a mere scutcheon

The future of the world lies in the embrace 
of conscious willed values
chosen because they help us to survive

Aristotle has no workable value system
Yet his thought rules 
It has not worked to keep us from the results of 
idolatry intolerance greed and autocracy

Aristotle's wisdom is not as wise as that of Jesus 
whose basic value is no other Gods
One can will and practice non-idolatry 
and many do unconsciously 
simply by a habit of skepticism and open-mindedness

The ontological values 
one can discover within 
and infer from Jesus 
and other teachers of willed values 
are 
tolerance democracy 
helpfulness and non-idolatry




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Aristotle bases his ethics on character and virtue rather than will

Aristotle set the stage for ethics discussion 
But Aristotle bases his ethics on
 character and virtue rather than will 
Now Western thought has a "value system" 
based not on will but on honor 
Aristotle's overarching virtue

Values and will are one 
Values create history and culture 
Values transcend character 
Values transcend virtue 
Values are the desires of the heart
 Jesus understands all of this 
Aristotle appears not to

Only the will is capable of desire
 Values are desires 
They are not characteristics
 They are motivations
. Their power is realized 
as they become conscious and operative

All of us operate on values 
that represent what we most honor
 what we give the most credence to
what moves us.

Search the terms value and virtue 
in the text of Aristotle's "Ethics" 
You will find virtue and character 
For Aristotle value is merely a word 
denoting relative advantage in relationships



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