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Ethics after Aristotle

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Brad Inwood gives a digest of his book at The Montreal Review. Excerpt:

I think the enduring appeal of Aristotelian ethics is unsurprising. Once you subtract some of the culturally specific quirks of his views (Greece in the fourth century BC was not a particularly liberal environment) he gives us a highly attractive vision of good human life, one that mere humans can aspire to achieve – it allows for our foibles, but success is by no means easy. The good life it sketches has a clear link to who we are in our real natures; our ‘lower’ selves are to be guided and regulated rather than quashed, desire and pleasure are to be managed not transcended. He claims that we are essentially human, neither beasts nor gods – failure to achieve a transcendent perfection doesn’t leave us wallowing in the muck. And he recognizes the variety of human natures – we aren’t all built for the intellectual perfections that Aristotle, like most philosophers, ranks highest. If the godlike abstract thinker is somehow highest in his view there is still a robust and fully satisfying happiness open to the rest of us.

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1 Comment

  1. Vince says:

    I appreciate the criteria for the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, judgment, etc presented by Bernard Lonergan (Thomist-Aristotelian) in “Insight”. One of the criteria is ‘reasonableness’–a foundation laid by Aristotle?

    Like

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