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Practices of Reason

C. D. C. Reeve

Published in print April 1995 | ISBN: 9780198235651
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679094 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198235651.001.0001
Practices of Reason

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This book provides an exploration of the epistemological, metaphysical, and psychological foundations of the Nicomachean Ethics. Rejecting current orthodoxy, this book argues that scientific-knowledge (episteme) is possible in ethics, that dialectic and understanding (nous) play essentially the same role in ethics as in an Aristotelian science, and that the distinctive role of practical wisdom (phronēsis) is to use the knowledge of universals provided by science, dialectic, and understanding so as best to promote happiness (eudaimonia) in particular circumstances and to ensure a happy life. Turning to happiness itself, the book develops a new account of Aristotle's views on ends and functions, exposing their twofold nature. It argues that the activation of theoretical wisdom is primary happiness, and that the activation of practical wisdom — when it is for the sake of primary happiness — is happiness of a second kind. He concludes with an account of the virtues of character, external goods, and friends, and their place in the happy life.

Keywords: Nicomachean Ethics; scientific knowledge; episteme; ethics; understanding; nous; Aristotelian science; practical wisdom; phronesis; happiness

Book.  238 pages. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Practices of Reason

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Demonstration and Dialectic in Practices of Reason

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Phronēsis in Practices of Reason

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Actions, Ends, and Functions in Practices of Reason

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Conclusion in Practices of Reason

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