Cognition of Value in Aristotle's Ethics: Promise of Enrichment, Threat of Destruction (SUNY Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy)

Cognition of Value in Aristotle's Ethics: Promise of Enrichment, Threat of Destruction (SUNY Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy)

Deborah Achtenberg

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0791453723

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

With this new interpretation, Deborah Achtenberg argues that metaphysics is central to ethics for Aristotle and that the ethics can be read on two levels imprecisely, in terms of its own dialectically grounded and imprecise claims, or in terms of the metaphysical terms and concepts that give the ethics greater articulation and depth. She argues that concepts of value the good and the beautiful are central to ethics for Aristotle and that they can be understood in terms of telos where telos can be construed to mean enriching limitation and contrasted with harmful or destructive limitation. Achtenberg argues that the imprecision of ethics for Aristotle results not simply from the fact that ethics has to do with particulars, but more centrally from the fact that it has to do with the value of particulars. She presents new interpretations of a wide variety of passages in Aristotle s metaphysical, physical, psychological, rhetorical, political, and ethical works in support of her argument and compares Aristotle s views to those of Plato, Marcus Aurelius, the Hebrew Bible, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Freud, and twentieth-century object relations theorists. Achtenberg also responds to interpretations of Aristotle s ethics by McDowell, Nussbaum, Sherman, Salkever, Williams, Annas, Irwin, Roche, Gomez-Lobo, Burnyeat, and Anagnostopoulos."













(including perceptual, calculative, and deliberative imagination). In the best cases, human action is caused by deliberative imagination and not just by perception and perceptual imagination or calculation and calculative imagination. By means of perception and perceptual imagination, we discern valuable particulars. By means of calculation and calculative imagination, we discern in addition the means to and constituents of valuable particulars. By means of deliberative imagination, we combine

‘entelecheia’ and ‘energeia’ are close equivalents and they name the relationship that obtains between a telos and the things of which it is the telos, Metaphysics 9.6 provides further corroboration. In it, Aristotle says that energeia cannot be defined but must be seen by analogy. What we mean by it, Aristotle says, is clear in different cases by induction: What we mean is clear by induction from particular cases and one must not seek a definition of everything but also see (synhoran) the

than that. That some have proposed that this trivial idea is what Aristotle’s account amounts to is not too surprising, though, because, as is often noted, Aristotle spells the mean out in terms of “what is needed” and some take this to mean “what the agent should.” However, such an interpretation leaves us with no understanding of why Aristotle supposes that virtue has two opposites, rather than one. That the virtuous actor is one who is disposed to do what he or she should do is a part of

envy, joy, friendship, hate, longing, emulation, pity, in general the [states of soul] that are accompanied by pleasure and pain. By capacities I mean the [states] by virtue of which we THE MEAN 113 are said to be capable of experiencing passion, for example, capable of being angry or being pained or of feeling pity. By dispositions I mean the [states] by virtue of which we are well or badly off with respect to the passions. For example, with respect to feeling angry, if we feel it vehemently

are types of pleasure or pain’ are Aristotle’s final view and that he uses two formulations because the relationship denoted is an intimate (close, internal) relationship but not a complete identity.4 In general, how do we convey intimate or close relations? The difficulty in conveying them is that, when A and B are intimately related, we want to convey the intimacy of the connection between the two, but we also want to convey that the intimate connection is between two. For example, if A is

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