A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, character, excellence, humanness, purpose, and arete

Greek culture understands the key to understanding nature, instinct and organism as consisting in the endowment of each creature with some distinctive "excellence" or talent (arete).  Among humans there is great controversy whether (because of the diversity among different character-types and the clash of different political and philosophical perspectives) there is at all such a unitary, universal or congruent thing as "excellence" for man per se.  There are many aspectival or specialized excellences; but does man in general have a defining purpose or a metaphysically obligatory excellence that everyone, just insofar as he is human, is obligated to cultivate and pursue?  --Or do we have a problem here in trying to extend the term "human" to creatures who really have little substantial in common with one another?

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave