Pleasure: Formal or Final Cause?

J. C. B. Gosling and C. C. W. Taylor

in The Greeks On Pleasure

Published in print December 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246664
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681035 | DOI:
Pleasure: Formal or Final Cause?

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Chapter 11 sketched the two passages on pleasure which suggested various points of divergence, while leaving some points of overlap. One attractive view is to hold that the points of overlap indicate the presence of a persistent opposition, and this enables us to explain at least some of the more interesting divergences in terms of developments in Aristotle's position. The last two chapters argued that the divergences between Books VII and X of the Nicomachean Ethics are greater than such a view would suggest. In so doing we hope to have done two things: first to have removed or at the very least weakened some of the grounds for supposing a change of view on the nature of pleasure, and in particular a growth in sophistication between Books VII and X; and second, to have shown to be baseless what might be called the after-glow theory, the view that Aristotle in Book X thought of pleasure as a supervenient je-ne-sais-quoi rounding off perfect actualization. It remains to be asked whether the books differ at all with respect to the view of pleasure presented. This chapter proceeds in two stages. First it considers the view that in Book X Aristotle considers pleasure to be the final cause of actualization, and argues for the more traditional view that he considers it the formal cause. We shall then be in a better position to ask what the difference amounts to. The second stage argues that the differences of terminology do not indicate a difference of view.

Keywords: Artisotle; pleasure; Nicomachean Ethics

Chapter.  5720 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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