Analysis of cases in their own right has always been a priority

We forget how longstanding is the notion of addressing each case in its own right. Here is Aristotle:

But let it be granted to begin with that the whole theory of conduct is bound to be an outline only and not an exact system, in accordance with the rule we laid down at the beginning, that philosophical theories must only be required to correspond to their subject matter; and matters of conduct and expediency have nothing fixed or invariable about them, any more than have matters of health. And if this is true of the general theory of ethics, still less is exact precision possible in dealing with particular cases of conduct; for these come under no science or professional tradition, but the agents themselves have to consider what is suited to the circumstances on each occasion, just as is the case with the art of medicine or of navigation. But although the discussion now proceeding is thus necessarily inexact, we must do our best to help it out.

my underline and without endnotes and annotation; from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

The underlined, “suited to the circumstances…” (pros ton kairon), has also been translated “as the occasion merits,” for example.

What also strikes me in this passage is the hint of improvisational or makeshift, as in: working with what’s at hand.

Source: Thanks to Otto Linderborg for directing me to this (also see his

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