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A Hobbesian and Heroic Unreflective Citizenship Essays

Project id 1014377
Subject area Arts Entertainment
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A Hobbesian and Heroic Unreflective Document In Meno, Plato asks "what virtue itself is" (Plato 60). This dialog on merit between Socrates and Meno ably frames a wider dialogue on integrity between Thomas Hobbes, the Greek heroic tradition, and also the sophists of 5th century Athens. Hobbes' Leviathan and Aristophanes' The Clouds present three classes of ethical actors to respond to Plato's question: Hobbes' ethical lemmings, the epic ethical traditionalists, and the sophist moral opportunists. The Meno also helps capture the essence of contemporary discussion of the morality of desire and emotivism, as stated by Roberto Mangabeira Unger in Knowledge and Politics along with Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue. Finally, I'll analyze--and then problematize-- both the Hobbesian and heroic answers to moral subjectivism. SOCRATES: Meno, from the gods, what would you yourself say that merit is? MENO: There is virtue for each and every activity and every age, for every single job of ours and every one of us. (Meno 60-61) Meno helps Plato pronounce the implications of subjectivism and the arbitrary designation of value. Roberto Mangabeira Unger's talk of this "morality of desire" (Unger 49) and Alasdair MacIntyre's description of emotivism formalize the ethical significance of Meno's inability to disaggregate itself by a definition of virtue. According to Unger, "[t]he morality of desire defines the good as the gratification of desire, the attaining of the goals to which our appetites and aversions incline us. The task of integrity with this opinion is to instruct us how to organize life so that we shall approach bliss" (49). In a similar vein, MacIntyre explains emotivism in After Virtue: "Emotivism is the philosophy that all evaluative judgme...

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