Aristotle's republic or, why Aristotle's ethics is not virtue ethics

Philosophy 77 (4):565-595 (2002)
Modern virtue ethics is commonly presented as an alternative to Kantian and utilitarian views—to ethics focused on action and obligations—and it invokes Aristotle as a predecessor. This paper argues that the Nichomachean Ethics does not represent virtue ethics thus conceived, because the discussion of the virtues of character there serves a quasi-Platonic psychology: it is an account of how to tame the unruly (non-rational) elements of the human soul so that they can be ruled by reason and the laws it imposes. This is explicitly stated in Book X, where it is also affirmed that the question of which laws reason should impose is addressed in The Politics. The Ethics and Politics can therefore be seen as a unity—as Aristotle's version of Plato's Republic—and it is the failure to recognize this that explains Aristotle's misappropriation by the modern virtue ethicists.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0031819102000463
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,211
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Peter Allmark (2013). Virtue and Austerity. Nursing Philosophy 14 (1):45-52.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

90 ( #49,061 of 1,935,139 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #196,228 of 1,935,139 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.