Philosophy in Alabama

Alabama philosophers? The conference schedule for next week’s Alabama Philosophical Society is now online. This year it’s up at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where I’ve actually never been before, despite having friends in the area.

I’m giving a paper on how Aristoteleans can avoid the twin pitfalls of making the concept of happiness include everything worth wanting (thus rendering happiness unattainable) and making it include only everything worth choosing (thus making it too easily attainable, since whatever’s currently unattainable is currently not worth choosing). (This sort of topic makes it all too obvious, to Greek philosophy specialists anyway, whose student I was at Cornell.) Anyway, my paper overlaps heavily with my APEE paper and Mises seminar.

Fellow Molinarian Charles Johnson is also scheduled to be there, defending Francis Hutcheson on the psychology and epistemology of ethics.

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10 Responses to Philosophy in Alabama

  1. Geoffrey Allan Plauche October 12, 2006 at 4:18 pm #

    Hey Roderick… Could you send me copies of your APEE and APS papers?

  2. Tim October 13, 2006 at 9:47 pm #

    How happy was Mr Aristotle anyway? Did Aristotleanism make Mr.Aristotle happy? I vaguely remember from ancient history class in high school, many aeons ago, that Mr Aristotle was a bit happier than Mr Plato.

    Mr Plato seemed happy enough to drink hemlock as directed, so presumably Mr Plato wasn’t all that happy to begin with.

  3. Geoffrey Allan Plauche October 13, 2006 at 11:31 pm #

    Actually, it was Socrates who drank hemlock, not Plato.

  4. Tim October 16, 2006 at 1:16 am #

    Do’oh!! Well at least I was right about the ‘vaguely remembered’ part. 🙂

    Insofar as theories of happiness were concerned, how close / far apart were Aristotle and Socrates? The legend of Socrates drinking hemlock to satisfy the laws of athens (and presumably demonstrate and educate by example his faith in community’s laws) has always seemed somewhat fishy to me.

  5. Anonymous2 October 16, 2006 at 4:26 am #

    Socrates was a shill for the statist establishment. Vive la Anarchist Revolution!

  6. Administrator October 16, 2006 at 11:06 am #

    I don’t know how happy Aristotle was. (Probably less happy than he thought, since by his own standards virtue is part of happiness, and he was presumably less virtuous then he thought he was — since, e.g., he thought his owning slaves was justified). But I don’t think you need to be happy to have a good theory as to what happiness is.

    Socrates is a complicated case, and what his motivations were for accepting the hemlock is much disputed. His argument (if it is his) for obeying the laws of Athens, as reported in Plato’s Crito, is truly wretched. But there are many libertarian aspects of Socrates as well, and he was also a pioneer of praxeology.

  7. Administrator October 18, 2006 at 6:51 pm #

    To Geoff — see here.

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