Wisdom and the Origins of Moral Knowledge

In Elisa Grimi, John Haldane, Maria Margarita Mauri Alvarez, Michael Wladika, Marco Damonte, Michael Slote, Randall Curren, Christian B. Miller, Liezl Zyl, Christopher D. Owens, Scott J. Roniger, Michele Mangini, Nancy Snow & Christopher Toner (eds.), Virtue Ethics: Retrospect and Prospect. Springer. pp. 67-80 (2019)
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Abstract

Aristotle presents his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics as an ordered pair comprising political science (hê politikê epistêmê), suggesting an axiomatic structure of theorems that are demonstratively deduced from first principles. He holds that this systematic knowledge of ethical and legislative matters provides the ‘universals’ essential to phronesis or practical wisdom, and that its acquisition begins in sound habituation. Aristotle thereby assigns habituation an epistemic role that must be understood in light of his account of the nature of a science. This paper argues that what would be inductively established by, or on the basis of, sound habituation is the supposition that the natural kind of activity constitutive of living well exists; it establishes the supposition on which Aristotle’s definition of a eudaimon life rests. Having addressed this central interpretive issue, the paper sketches a psychologically grounded position on the substantive philosophical questions at stake. Are there natural signs of flourishing and failure to flourish present to us in our experience of attempts to live well? If such signs exist but are not sufficient to qualify ethical beliefs as knowledge in their own right, might they play a role in a science of what is good and bad for human beings?

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Randall R. Curren
University of Rochester

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Communication levels of the individual.V. M. Rubskyi - 2019 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 16:24-32.

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