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Confronting Aristotle's EthicsAncient and Modern Morality$
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Eugene Garver

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226283982

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226284019.001.0001

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Decision, Rational Powers, and Irrational Powers

Decision, Rational Powers, and Irrational Powers

(p.47) Chapter 2 Decision, Rational Powers, and Irrational Powers
Confronting Aristotle's Ethics
University of Chicago Press

This chapter highlights the contrast between rhetoric and virtue. Unlike the arts, the virtues bring the soul into good condition and so are psychologically satisfying. This dimension of virtue relates activities not to the processes they complete but to the powers they realize, corresponding to what is called the psychological. The relation of virtue to soul makes the virtues rational in a different way from the rationality of art. The arts, including rhetoric, do not bring the soul into good condition, and so the arts, unlike the virtues, are not a constituent part of the good life. The rationality of virtue is a development, an energeia, of the irrational, desiring soul, while art is not. Here is a mode of practical rationality that does not exclude passion.

Keywords:   rhetoric, virtue, soul, rationality, arts, good life, energeia

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