David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):199-219 (2007)
Aristotle's doctrine that human beings are political animals is, in part, an empirical thesis, and posits an inclination to enter into cooperative relationships, even apart from the instrumental benefits of doing so. Aristotle's insight is that human cooperation rests on a non-rational propensity to trust even strangers, when conditions are favorable. Turning to broader questions about the role of nature in human development, I situate Aristotle's attitude towards our natural propensities between two extremes: he rejects both the view that we must bow to whatever nature dictates, and also the view that nature is generally or always to be suppressed or overcome. This middle position requires that Aristotle hold nature and goodness apart, so that the latter can serve as a standard for evaluating the former. He holds that nature does not treat all human beings alike: just as some are handicapped in their development by a deficiency in their natural abilities or propensities, others are extraordinarily fortunate and have so powerful a disposition to act well that they easily acquire good habits and skills of practical reasoning. Further, he recognizes that sociable inclinations and natural virtues have to compete in the human soul with other natural forces that make ethical life extraordinarily difficult. That is why things so often go so badly for us: we need not only to subdue the external environment, but to overcome certain inner natural obstacles as well. Even so, for Aristotle ethical life is not generally alienated from nature, as it is for other philosophers. Footnotesa I am grateful to David Keyt and Fred Miller, and to the other contributors to this volume, for their helpful comments on the previous draft of this paper.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mariska Leunissen (2010). Explanation and Teleology in Aristotle's Science of Nature. Cambridge University Press.
Andrea Falcon (2005). Aristotle and the Science of Nature: Unity Without Uniformity. Cambridge University Press.
Todd S. Mei (2009). The Preeminence of Use: Reevaluating the Relation Between Use and Exchange in Aristotle's Economic Thought. Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (4):pp. 523-548.
Mark K. Spencer (2007). Full Human Flourishing. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:193-204.
Zena Hitz (2011). Aristotle on Self-Knowledge and Friendship. Philosophers' Imprint 11 (12):1-28.
Christopher J. Berry (1999). Human Nature and Political Conventions. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 2 (2):95-111.
Robert Mayhew (1997). Part and Whole in Aristotle's Political Philosophy. Journal of Ethics 1 (4):325-340.
Joachim Schummer (2001). Aristotle on Technology and Nature. Philosophia Naturalis 38 (1):105-120.
Fred Dycus Miller (1995). Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads86 ( #45,927 of 1,790,408 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #433,815 of 1,790,408 )
How can I increase my downloads?