Aristotle in the Ethics Wars

Review of Metaphysics 71 (4):641-666 (2018)
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Abstract

In the latter half of the twentieth century, some prominent ethicists turned to the history of philosophy to challenge the prevailing trend toward subjectivism or noncognitivism. G. E. M. Anscombe offered the first of several historical narratives challenging the world picture that undergirded this prevalence, narratives in which Aristotelian ethics is presented as a possible alternative. It is striking, however, how differently these narratives characterize the ancient–modern divide and how differently Aristotle is interpreted, particularly on the issue of his appeal to naturalism in ethics. The tendency to view Philippa Foot as Anscombe’s best interpreter might leave us with the unfortunate supposition that Aristotelian ethics is saddled with an implausible Archimedean naturalism. The author suggests that there is another way to read Anscombe’s message, which does not fetter it to a kind of metaphysical biology that we have no reason to accept.

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Author's Profile

Sylvia Berryman
University of British Columbia

References found in this work

Autonomy as Second Nature: On McDowell's Aristotelian Naturalism.David Forman - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (6):563-580.

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