By W. T. Stace
The traditional Greek philosophers have performed a pivotal position within the shaping of the western philosophical culture. This publication surveys the seminal works and ideas of key figures within the historical Greek philosophical culture from the Presocratics to the Neoplatonists. It highlights their major philosophical issues and the evolution of their inspiration from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE.
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The first, ‘ideal theory’, defends a ‘conception of a just society that we are to achieve if we can’ (Rawls, 1971, p. ), outlining principles that should constrain society, and explaining how such principles fulfil their regulatory function. In later work, Rawls explains that ideal theory maps onto the idea of a ‘realistic utopia’, presenting a conception of the best society that we can realistically hope for, given our moral and psychological dispositions and the particular circumstances in which justice is to play its role.
A principle that responds appropriately to a demand for individual consideration will always overlook the particular demands of other unique individuals. Conversely, a principle that compares individual demands through the lens of impartiality will always overlook the obligation of individual consideration (Derrida, 2002a, p. 248). Under constraints of action, Derrida affirms that a decision must be made. However, this decision involves a moment of ‘undecidability’ because no absolute criteria exists that might allow the request for either individual or impartial consideration to be prioritized over the other.
34). Among these worst enemies, Derrida includes ‘the most fanatical Islamists’ (2005a, p. 34), and the ‘Fascist and Nazi totalitarianisms [who] came into power or ascended to power through formally normal and formally democratic electoral processes’ (2005a, p. 33). In such cases, democracy lawfully permits its own destruction. Autoimmunity describes a state wherein an organism fails to recognize its own constituent parts as elements of itself, attacking its very own cells and tissues. In the aftermath of 11 September, a claim was made that it was necessary to restrict the very liberties democracy was obliged to protect, and this, with a view to immunizing democracy against the harm some individuals could potentially pose to the liberty of others.
A Critical History of Greek Philosophy by W. T. Stace