Aristotle and Maimonides

Maimonides uses Aristotelian philosophical idiom to articulate his moral philosophy, but there are fundamental differences between his and Aristotle’s conceptions of moral psychology and the nature of the moral agent. The Maimonidean conception of volition and its role in repentance and ethical self-correction are quite un-Aristotelian. The relation between this capacity to alter one’s character and the accessibility of ethical requirements given in the Law is explored. This relation helps explain why for Maimonides practical wisdom is not recognized as a virtue, and why ethical perfection (a requirement for human perfection) is achievable even by those long-established in ethically unsound dispositions. The power of will to “restore the soul” (by following the prescriptions of the Law) when character is disordered is a significant departure from Aristotelian philosophical anthropology
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 1051-3558
DOI 10.5840/acpq200276132
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