Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Aristotle on Familial Motivation

Here’s Martha Nussbaum’s perspective on Aristotle’s criticism of Plato’s proposals for holding spouses and children in common:

“Aristotle points out that close particular attachments are fundamental to familial and political motivation. "There are two things above all that make people love and care for something: the thought that it is all yours, and the thought that it is the only one you have" (Aristotle in Politics). A person motivated in this way is unlikely to view her own particular spouse or child as simply the object of universalizable ethical obligations. Parental education is superior to public education, Aristotle argues, because it begins from a grasp of the child's particularity, and is thus more likely to hit on what is appropriate.”

(Source: The Therapy of Desire by Martha Nussbaum, Chapter: “Medical Dialectic: Aristotle on Theory and Practice”)