Individual and Conflict in Greek Ethics

Philosophical Review 113 (4):557-560 (2004)
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This book covers a great deal of ground and aims to undermine some of the most widespread claims about ancient Greek ethics. White thinks that the study of Greek ethics has been wrongly dominated by the assumption that all Greek ethical theorists were eudaimonists and harmonizing eudaimonists. Roughly, White takes eudaimonism as the thesis that for each individual there is a single ultimate rational end aimed at for its own sake and that this is the individual’s own eudaimonia, well-being, or happiness. Harmonizing eudaimonism is the thesis that if there is a plurality of ingredients of happiness, they can all be fully realized by the individual without significant conflict among them. Harmonizing eudaimonism thus not only guarantees that the self-confined aims of an individual are co-realizable, but also that there is no conflict between the individual’s self-confined good and other considerations that make a rational claim on the agent, such as ethical principles and the welfare of others.



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Chris Bobonich
Stanford University

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