JUSTDOLIT: a single tool to analyse all texts

If you want to know more: Before and after St. Augustine

In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle speaks of nature, society and metaphysics when he distinguishes between “the life of enjoyment […], the political and thirdly, the contemplative [life]” (1095b.18-20). For further references back in time to Plato and Hyppocrates, see Crane (2007). All these earlier instances miss the crucial individual dimension. For the reason why such crucial dimension may be missing, see MacIntyre (1984: 122-26).

I first learned about St Augustine's system from Tzvetan Todorov in his magisterial La Conquête de l’Amérique, where he reproduces St Augustine's thought and uses it to good effect. However, the present tool is not a copy of Todorov's use of St. Augustine: as will be seen in module 1.2 (see especially the following link in 1.2), the present tool refines Todorov's use of St Augustine, as it depends on insights that Todorov just does not offer.

Todorov, by the way, never acknowledges his source, a source he must have known well, as his earlier Symbolism and Interpretation, which abounds in references to St Augustine and Christian Doctrine, proves (see 1982: 42). It's all the more puzzling that Todorov never mentions St Augustine, since at least two further works of his use St Augustine's insight in ways which are absolutely central for Todorov's purposes (Le jardin imparfait, Las morales de la historia).

I have recently (9 October 2009) heard about Lubomir Doležel, who among other things engages in "possible worlds". In his 1998 Heterocosmica Doležel proposes a possible world which, among other 'dimensions' uses something resembling very much our nature, metaphysics and society (in possible worlds, these are the alethic and deontic modalities) to analyse possible fictional worlds. For Doležel, the moral universe constitutes a distinctive category, whereas in JustdoLit morality and ethics only exist between society and nature. As I learn more about the relationship between Doležel's possible world and JustdoLit, I'll insert it in the website.

works cited and referred to:

Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics. London: Penguin, 2004.

Crane, Gregory R. (ed.) note to Plato’s Republic. Perseus Digital Library. Winter 2007. http://artfl.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.296:12:0:-1:4664.allgreek.

Doležel, Lubomir. Heterocosmica: Fiction and Possible Worlds. John Hopkins UP: Baltimore, 1998.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 1984.

Todorov, Tzvetan. Symbolism and Interpretation. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1982.

___. La Conquête de l’Amérique: la question de l’autre. Paris: Seuil, 1982.

___. Las morales de la historia. Barcelona: Editorial Paidós, 1993.

___. Le jardin imparfait: La pensée humaniste en France. Paris: Grasset, 1998.

daniel.candel@uah.es ©2008 Daniel Candel Bormann