Aristotle's republic or, why Aristotle's ethics is not virtue ethics

Philosophy 77 (4):565-595 (2002)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Modern virtue ethics is commonly presented as an alternative to Kantian and utilitarian views—to ethics focused on action and obligations—and it invokes Aristotle as a predecessor. This paper argues that the Nichomachean Ethics does not represent virtue ethics thus conceived, because the discussion of the virtues of character there serves a quasi-Platonic psychology: it is an account of how to tame the unruly (non-rational) elements of the human soul so that they can be ruled by reason and the laws it imposes. This is explicitly stated in Book X, where it is also affirmed that the question of which laws reason should impose is addressed in The Politics. The Ethics and Politics can therefore be seen as a unity—as Aristotle's version of Plato's Republic—and it is the failure to recognize this that explains Aristotle's misappropriation by the modern virtue ethicists.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,907

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Aristotle’s Divided Mind: Some Thoughts on Intellectual Virtue and Aristotle’s Occasional Dualism.Jonathan J. Sanford - 2006 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:77-90.
Toward an Ontology of Virtue Ethics.Mary Ella Savarino - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:243-259.
Virtue: Confucius and Aristotle.Jiyuan Yu - 1998 - Philosophy East and West 48 (2):323-347.
Aristotle on the vices and virtue of wealth.Peter Hadreas - 2002 - Journal of Business Ethics 39 (4):361 - 376.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
196 (#104,425)

6 months
17 (#161,246)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

What's Aristotelian about neo‐Aristotelian Virtue Ethics?Sukaina Hirji - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):671-696.
On the “Virtue Turn” and the Problem of Categorizing Chinese Thought.Eric L. Hutton - 2015 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (3):331-353.
Virtue and austerity.Peter Allmark - 2013 - Nursing Philosophy 14 (1):45-52.
Virtue ethics and nursing: on what grounds?Roger A. Newham - 2015 - Nursing Philosophy 16 (1):40-50.
Idealist Origins: 1920s and Before.Martin Davies & Stein Helgeby - 2014 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 15-54.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references