Configuring the Moral Self: Aristotle and Dewey [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Foundations of Science 13 (3-4):239-250 (2008)
Focusing on the concept of “the moral self” this essay explores relationships between Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and John Dewey’s moral pragmatism and tries to evaluate the extent to which in his work on ethics Aristotle may be considered a pragmatist. Aristotle foreshadows pragmatism, for example, in preferring virtue-based to rule-based ethics, in contending that the moral status of a person’s actions and the nature of the person’s selfhood are interdependent, and in stressing the key role of habits in character formation. Aristotle, however, may seem far from the status of pragmatist when he privileges the life of contemplation and posits a moral self that is more static than the one proposed by Dewey. This essay contends that if more attention is paid to Aristotle’s treatment of friendship and to his highlighting of the need for reciprocity then the moral self that emerges from Nicomachean Ethics becomes more dialectical and more at one with that proposed by the American pragmatist. Aristotle, then, may be regarded as setting Dewey on the path towards a model of moral self that is not only deeply concerned about the lives of others but that is also dependent on others for its own existence
|Keywords||Dialectical self Human flourishing Moral self Pragmatism Reciprocity|
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References found in this work BETA
Charles Taylor (1989). Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Harvard University Press.
Alasdair C. MacIntyre (2007). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. University of Notre Dame Press.
Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1985). Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Harvard University Press.
Martha Craven Nussbaum (2001). The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Zygmunt Bauman (1993). Postmodern Ethics. Blackwell.
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