Athletic virtue and aesthetic values in Aristotle’s ethics

Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 47 (1):63-74 (2019)
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ABSTRACTWhen Aristotle praises pentathletes’ beauty at Rhetoric 1361b, it is not the idle observation of a sports fan. In fact, the balanced and harmonious beauty of athletes’ bodies reflects Aristotle’s ideal of a virtuous soul in the Nicomachean Ethics: one which discerns noble ends and means, then acts accordingly. At Eudemian Ethics 1248b, he takes it a step further, characterizing kalokagathia as ‘the virtue that arises from a combination’ of virtues. These passages raise important questions about the relationship between ethics, athletics, and aesthetics. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s ideal of kalokagathia is compatible not just with athletic training, but also with an ideal of citizenship that rejects traditional ideas about inborn virtue and superficial beauty.



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Heather Reid
Exedra Mediterranean Center, Siracusa, Sicily

Citations of this work

The Role of Sport in a Good Life: Aristotle and Suits.Lukáš Mareš - 2021 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 16 (4):544-562.

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References found in this work

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 2014 - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.
Sport; a Philosophic Inquiry.Paul Weiss - 1969 - Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Tricky Triad: Games, Play, and Sport.Bernard Suits - 1988 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 15 (1):1-9.
Introduction to the Philosophy of Sport.Heather Reid - 2012 - Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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