Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Reason and CharacterThe Moral Foundations of Aristotelian Political Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lorraine Smith Pangle

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226688169

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226688336.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

The Task and the Puzzle of Reason in the Nicomachean Ethics

The Task and the Puzzle of Reason in the Nicomachean Ethics

Chapter:
(p.13) Chapter 1 The Task and the Puzzle of Reason in the Nicomachean Ethics
Source:
Reason and Character
Author(s):

Lorraine Smith Pangle

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226688336.003.0002

Aristotle opens the Ethics with a strong case for the primacy of the political art that aims at the ultimate human good. He outlines the complexity of his audience, which explains the complex dialectical method he will use in developing his teaching on the human good. He defines happiness (eudaimonia) as the “most complete” human end, an ambiguous standard that has produced a stand-off between those who defend a "dominant" and an "inclusive" view of Aristotelian happiness. This discussion is best understood not as the launching of a single teaching but as the evocation of disparate hopes and expectations that Aristotle will interrogate and educate through the Ethics. Rather than begin from natural human needs discovered through a direct investigation of human nature, Aristotle sets up the project of the Ethics with his famous function argument that man's unique function is an activity of soul in accord with reason, or, as he reframes it, in accord with virtue. Thus the task becomes investigating opinions about virtue; as it does, reason recedes in importance. The chapter concludes with discussions of whether complete happiness is available, whether the soul has parts, and how the teaching on the mean provides guidance for ethics.

Keywords:   happiness, moral virtue, reason, human good, political art, dialectical method, human nature, eudaimonia, function argument

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.