Aristotle’s Divided Mind: Some Thoughts on Intellectual Virtue and Aristotle’s Occasional Dualism

Abstract

In this paper I focus on a few of the passages in the Nicomachean Ethics that challenge the standard hylomorphic interpretation of Aristotle’s anthropology. I proceed by reflecting on the manner in which Aristotle’s two ways of characterizing the human person follow from his accounts of the two most important intellectual virtues, phronesis and sophia. I attempt to argue for the following three points: first, that Aristotle’s presentation of a divided mind is the result of his consistency rather than inconsistency; second, that there is not a clear way found in his Nicomachean Ethics to overcome this dual anthropology without doing violence to his account of intellectual virtue; and third, that there are several reasons why this dual anthropology should not be regarded as an aporetic failure

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2011-12-01

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Jonathan J. Sanford
University of Dallas

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