Aristotle’s Non-‘Dialectical’ Methodology in the Nicomachean Ethics

Ancient Philosophy 29 (2):311-335 (2009)
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The Nicomachean Ethics is generally thought to be a “dialectical” work, aimed at resolving aporia in a set of endoxa, which it takes as its starting-point. I argue that Aristotle’s aim in the treatise is, rather, to produce definitions of key ethical terms, and that his starting-points are limited to evaluative and discriminative judgments of a certain sort, which are demanded by the nature of the discipline and are not endoxa. I discuss also how the definitions are reached (focusing on the cases of the virtues of character) and the roles that aporiai do play in the process.



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Gregory Salmieri
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

The Limits of Definition: Gadamer’s Critique of Aristotle’s Ethics.Carlo DaVia - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (6):1176-1196.
Dossier: eudemian ethics.Raphael Zillig - 2017 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 20:79-92.

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References found in this work

Nicomachean Ethics.Terence Irwin & Aristotle of Stagira - 1999 - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
Aristotle's first principles.Terence Irwin - 1988 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Aristotle and the methods of ethics.Jonathan Barnes - 1980 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 34 (3):490.
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics.Roger Crisp (ed.) - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
The Fragility of Goodness.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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