Happy Lives and the Highest Good: An Essay on Aristotle's by Gabriel Richardson Lear

By Gabriel Richardson Lear

Gabriel Richardson Lear provides a daring new method of one of many enduring debates approximately Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics : the talk approximately even if it coherently argues that the easiest existence for people is one dedicated to a unmarried task, particularly philosophical contemplation. Many students oppose this studying as the bulk of the Ethics is dedicated to numerous ethical virtues--courage and generosity, for example--that aren't in any seen manner both manifestations of philosophical contemplation or subordinated to it. They argue that Aristotle used to be inconsistent, and that we should always now not attempt to learn the complete Ethics as an try to flesh out the suggestion that the simplest existence goals on the "monistic solid" of contemplation.

In protecting the cohesion and coherence of the Ethics , Lear argues that, in Aristotle's view, we might act for the sake of an finish not only by means of instrumentally bringing it approximately but in addition through approximating it. She then argues that, for Aristotle, the superb rational job of ethical advantage is an approximation of theoretical contemplation.

hence, the happiest individual chooses ethical advantage as an approximation of contemplation in useful lifestyles. Richardson Lear bolsters this interpretation by way of studying 3 ethical virtues--courage, temperance, and greatness of soul--and the way in which they're superb. Elegantly written and conscientiously argued, it is a significant contribution to our figuring out of a principal factor in Aristotle's ethical philosophy.

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For, as I have said, there might conceivably be several goods fitting this description, given all Aristotle has shown us. Happily, however Aristotle does not use the finality criterion in this way. 7 he tries to argue not only that contemplation is not choiceworthy for the sake of anything further but also that it is the only candidate good in this position, since pleasure and moral virtue are choiceworthy for its sake. 43 The translation of this word is highly disputed. Those who espouse an inclusivist interpretation of NE I often translate it as ‘complete’, while those who favor a monistic-end reading often prefer ‘perfect’ or ‘final’.

Phys. ). Even in the animal and human cases, where desire psychology is integral to the workings of natural teleology, an end is not by definition an object of desire or even an appropriate one. 54 Aristotle must believe, therefore, that he can explicate the finality relation in terms that do not make reference to desire or conscious intention. Our interpretation of the various levels of ends must be sensitive to this fact. We can press the point further. Although it may seem that middle-level goods are those goods desired for themselves and for their results, our examination of Aristotelian ends showed that this apparent solution is not in the spirit of Aristotelian teleology.

These classifications are not meant to be the only way to divide the pie. 51 Irwin 1999, 165. 52 There is a further oddity about thinking of Glaucon’s kinds of goods as tracking a hierarchy of ends. ” But Plato, unlike Aristotle, thinks that pleasures are processes. That is to say, he believes that pleasures have ends beyond themselves (Gorg. 492e7–493d3; Phil. 54c6-d2, 32a6-b4; Rep. IX 583e9–10; Frede 1993, xlii–xliii). If Plato meant Glaucon to be distinguishing levels in a teleological hierarchy, he ought not have provided as the sole example of a good choiceworthy for The Finality Criterion • 33 totle thinks that human practical reasoning is shaped by the perception of hierarchies of ends.

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