Aristotle's Ethical Theory

Aristotle's Ethical Theory

Aristotle's Ethical Theory

Aristotle's Ethical Theory

Synopsis

This is a study of Aristotle's moral philosophy as it is contained in the Nicomachean Ethics. Hardie examines the difficulties of the text; presents a map of inescapable philosophical questions; and brings out the ambiguities and critical disagreements on some central topics, inclduing happiness, the soul, the ethical mean, and the initiation of action.

Excerpt

This book was published in 1968 and has been out of print for a number of years. It is now reprinted with the pagination unchanged but with additional matter in the form of Appended Notes. These notes are printed continuously at the end of the book in an order determined by the order of the chapters or pages to which they primarily refer. The Bibliography has been rearranged and brought up to date. The revised Index has been enlarged by the inclusion of references to the Appended Notes, and an index of Aristotelian passages has been added.

In writing the notes I have had two main objectives in view: to correct or supplement some of the interpretations which I now think were wrong or inadequate in the book and to take account of some recent contributions to the study of the Ethics. Some of the points made in the notes have been anticipated in articles. In particular I thank the editor of Philosophy for allowing me to use my article, 'Aristotle on the best life for a man' (1979). Points argued in it reappear with modifications in the notes to chapter II (The Final Good) and chapter XVI (Theoretical Activity).

I have come to think differently on two questions which I have found puzzling in Aristotle's doctrine on ethical virtue. What has Aristotle in mind when he speaks, most explicitly in his introduction to EN VII but not only there, of extraordinary or heroic virtue? The first note appended to XIII (Moral Weakness) is a second version, written two years later, of the Appendix ('Continence, Virtue, Heroic Virtue') which I was allowed to add to my chapter VII ('Virtue is a Mean') when the greater part of that chapter was reprinted in Articles on Aristotle, 2 (1977). The second puzzle has some connection with the first. What was Aristotle's purpose in IV 3 where he gives a description of the . . .

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