This marvelous comparative study of Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is devoted to a single point of comparison—namely, the question whether ethics rests on metaphysics and, if so, whether the proper study of ethics requires understanding its metaphysical basis.

Scott writes, “It is striking that, in their different ways, both Plato and Aristotle base their practical philosophies on claims about human psychology, our place in nature, and, more broadly still, the nature of reality. So, when engaging in practical philosophy in this way, do they require a rigorous and systematic investigation into metaphysics, epistemology, and psychology? Or does it suffice to rely on a less precise grasp of our underlying assumptions in these areas?” (2).

The answer he defends is (a) that in the Republic Plato presents a shorter route to ethical truth (bypassing the metaphysics and epistemology of the central books), while...

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