Download Nature and Conduct by R. S. Peters (eds.) PDF

By R. S. Peters (eds.)

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Bees are not confined to the expression of their emotions and incitements to action. What is lacking is argument or critical discussion, the practice of deliberately attempting to correct beliefs, in other words reasoning in its most elevated sense. We may agree with Hurne that animals infer but they do not construct or conduct inferences. The protracted authority of Aristotle's idea that rationality is the specifically differentiating part of the essence of man is not undeserved. Rationality is not possessed by all the beings we should describe as human but the exceptions are not of a kind calculated to undermine the principle.

But it could also mean: is it essential to the individuals that are men that they are men? That this is so is clearly assumed by all three of the doctrines of essence I have considered. For Aristotle, Marx and Sartre would not deny that the individuals who are men have other properties than the rationality, productiveness or self-determination which they respectively regard as essential to being a man. Certainly both Marx and Sartre suggest that some of men's properties are somehow conspicuously foreign to their essence.

I. ' (Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation, p. ) It is plainly implied that things are always capable Anthony Quinton of being named by a host of non-equivalent terms, each bearing a different essence with it. Ayer denies that individuals have any necessary properties. 'We can significantly ask', he says, 'what properties it is necessary for something to possess in order to be a thing of such and such a kind, for that is a way of asking what properties enter into the definition of that kind of thing ...

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