Actions, Ends, and Functions


in Practices of Reason

Published in print April 1995 | ISBN: 9780198235651
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679094 | DOI:
Actions, Ends, and Functions

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Book I of the Ethics is filled with complex arguments about eudaimonia and with important methodological remarks that vividly remind us of the limits of those arguments and of the power of the ethical endoxa and phainomena to which they are ultimately answerable. The argument in i. 1–2 identifies eudaimonia with the end of politics and politics with the most architectonic virtue. The argument from completeness, self-sufficiency, and choiceworthiness, which shares i. 7 with the function argument, introduces new conceptual apparatus crucial to the remainder of the discussion. The function argument itself establishes the relevance of virtue to eudaimonia thereby setting the agenda for much of the rest of the Ethics (1102a-7). Having already discussed method, this chapter focuses on the arguments. When we have properly understood them, our grip on phronēsis and its relationship to nous and eudaimonia will be immeasurably tightened. But before we can hope to reach such an understanding, we need to probe Aristotle's views on different types of ends and on the different kinds of things we do to achieve them.

Keywords: Aristotle; Nicomachean Ethics; phronēsis; eudaimonia

Chapter.  17539 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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