Aristotle's Response to Socratic Intellectualism

Dissertation, Saint Louis University (1991)

What is the proper relationship between reason and passion in ethics? The question is one pertinent to both modern and ancient moral philosophy. Traditionally, Plato and Aristotle have been interpreted as favoring an approach that heavily sided with reason. The author believes this to be a misunderstanding of their views. While it is true of the early Socratic dialogues, it is not true of the later Plato nor of Aristotle. ;Aristotle took a middle course in ethics, in which he considered the whole of an individual's soul--rational as well as passional--as important to moral development. In this, Aristotle chose some interesting parallels to the early "Socratic ethics," while diligently avoiding its shortcomings. ;This paper traces the unfolding of Aristotle's position from its potential roots in Socratic ethics. It investigates three facets of the question of intellectualism: as it pertains to the acquisition of virtue, to moral judgments, and to the moral problem of incontinence. What is attained is an interpretation of Aristotle's ethics, not as a view dominated by reason, but one which gives consideration to all facets of the human constitution
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