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

By Gabriel Richardson Lear

Gabriel Richardson Lear offers a daring new method of one of many enduring debates approximately Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics : the debate approximately no matter if it coherently argues that the simplest lifestyles for people is one dedicated to a unmarried job, specifically philosophical contemplation. Many students oppose this examining as the bulk of the Ethics is dedicated to varied ethical virtues--courage and generosity, for example--that should not in any noticeable method 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 whole Ethics as an try and flesh out the concept that the easiest lifestyles goals on the "monistic strong" of contemplation.

In protecting the team spirit and coherence of the Ethics , Lear argues that, in Aristotle's view, we may well 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 wonderful rational job of ethical advantage is an approximation of theoretical contemplation.

therefore, the happiest individual chooses ethical advantage as an approximation of contemplation in sensible lifestyles. Richardson Lear bolsters this interpretation via analyzing 3 ethical virtues--courage, temperance, and greatness of soul--and the best way they're nice. Elegantly written and conscientiously argued, this can be a significant contribution to our knowing of a vital factor in Aristotle's ethical philosophy.

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However, he thinks that this passage, and in particular 1097a22–24, shows that Aristotle still keeps the inclusivist possibility open. 4–5. 7 quoted above: “If there is some end of all the things done, this would be the practicable good, and if there are several ends, these would be” (1097a22–24). The implication seems to be that several ends might together compose the practicable good. We should hesitate to accept this reading, however. First, Aristotle makes it clear that he is still summarizing the results of his previous investigation during the sentence in question.

These are the perplexing middle-level ends. We have seen why Aristotle should mark out this third category of ends. These are the goods that due to their relatively high degree of finality, are likely to be mistaken for the good. The finality criterion is intended to help us make the distinction. But as I suggested earlier, it is not clear how these goods that have their ends both in and beyond themselves can fit into Aristotle’s theoretical framework. How can a good both determine its own standards for success and have them determined from the outside by a higher good?

4 1095a14–22). What Aristotle is doing in this passage is demonstrating that the finality criterion can serve to distinguish the good and happiness from other practicable goods. The Finality Criterion • 31 own they provide a sufficient normative context for justifying the pursuitworthiness of the goods subordinated to them. 45 And yet middle-level goods do not top the hierarchy of ends. Though they are intrinsically valuable, they are also choiceworthy for the sake of the most final end: happiness.

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