Confronting Aristotle's Ethics: Ancient and Modern Morality by Eugene Garver

By Eugene Garver

What is the nice existence? Posing this question at the present time could most likely elicit very varied solutions. a few may possibly say that the nice existence skill doing good—improving one’s group and the lives of others. Others may reply that it potential doing well—cultivating one’s personal skills in a significant approach. yet for Aristotle those specific ideas—doing strong and doing well—were one and an identical and will be discovered in one existence. In Confronting Aristotle’s Ethics, Eugene Garver examines how we will be able to draw this end from Aristotle's works, whereas additionally learning how this notion of the great existence pertains to modern principles ofmorality. the foremost to Aristotle’s perspectives on ethics, argues Garver, lies in the Metaphysics or, extra particularly, in his techniques on actions, activities, and capacities. For Aristotle, Garver indicates, it is just attainable to be really lively whilst appearing for the typical strong, and it's only attainable to be really chuffed whilst energetic to the level of one’s personal powers. yet does this suggest we must always aspire to Aristotle’s impossibly demanding vision of the nice existence? In a be aware, no. Garver stresses the huge, immense hole among existence in Aristotle’s time and ours. consequently, this book will be a welcome rumination on not just Aristotle, however the courting among the person and society in daily life.


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When there is an external goal, why must it be victory? There certainly seem to be other good things for the sake of which an agent might exhibit courage. Does the external goal even have to be good in order that courage may be exhibited? 14 Here the internal end—nobility—has its being and worth apart from achieving of external goals such as victory. ” Aristotle would deny that there is anything noble about courage in the absence of a valuable external end. Virtue becomes virtuosity, pride in the achievement of internal ends of craft values detached from the external ends that made them initially attractive and intelligible.

Whether they are also internal to the practitioner is another question. These particular internal standards of success and failure would not make sense unless one also had an external purpose: doing everything possible to save a patient could not be a value if a saved patient weren’t already valued. We can find goods in the doing only when the purpose of the practice is some already valued end. Internal goods do not come from some separate faculty, of morality or conscience, as they do in many ethical theories, and in many readings of Aristotle.

One can act courageously even in defeat. 1. 1115b20 –22); virtuous action is its own end because it is the source and measure of its own value. Aristotle emphasizes the fact that the end of courage is an internalized and practical form of the original end, and not an independent internal end. 1115a25). Fear’s object— the noblest form of death—is built into courage’s definition. The original external end becomes part of the internalized end. There is a difference Aristotle’s Rhetoric and the Rationality of Virtue • 31 between poisoning the enemy’s food supply and mastering one’s fears as means to military victory, just as there is a difference between persuading through trickery and through argument.

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