Unity and Complexity

Thomas Hurka

in Perfectionism

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780195101164
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833276 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

Unity and Complexity

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Continues the discussion of theoretical and practical perfection by examining the considerations that give some beliefs and intentions more quality and therefore value than others. It argues that Aristotelian considerations about rationality as essential to humans require measures of quality to be formal, considering only formal properties of beliefs and ends rather than their substantive content. There are two such measures: the extent of a belief's or end's content in space, time, and objects involved, and the degree to which different beliefs and ends are organized in a hierarchical structure. Together, these measures value explanatorily organized knowledge, a unified life, and complex, difficult activities such as games.

Keywords: belief; complexity; games; hierarchy; intention; quality; unified life; unity

Chapter.  7721 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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