Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (1):pp. 94-95 (2010)
Ronna Burger offers a reading of the Ethics that views the text as a dialogue with, and very much in the spirit of, the Platonic Socrates. In reading the text as a dialogue, Burger is not making a claim about Aristotle’s intentions. She is proposing “a tool of interpretation, to be judged by the philosophical result it yields, in particular, the underlying argument it discloses whose movement makes the work a whole” . Treating the text this way entails focusing as much on the action, or, as she refers to it, the deed of the text, as on any alleged conclusions or doctrines. This deed turns out to be the very energeia of theoria concerning the best life for a human being that Aristotle, like Socrates, takes to be the activity conducive to living the happiest human life. Consequently, Burger is far more inclined to open issues up than she is to close them off.The dialogue with Socrates, Burger argues, has two distinct but related phases. Each phase begins by putting forward a view that differs from the Socratic view but which, upon examination, ends up motivating a position much like that of Socrates. The first phase begins with an understanding of ethics that separates the
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