Chapter

PSYCHOLOGICAL EUDAIMONISM AND INTERPRETATION IN GREEK ETHICS

MARK LEBAR and NATHANIEL GOLDBERG

in Virtue and Happiness

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646043
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743368 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646043.003.0015

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

PSYCHOLOGICAL EUDAIMONISM AND INTERPRETATION IN GREEK ETHICS

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Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics can each be understood as claiming that all human beings desire to live well, and that this desire, when accompanied by correct beliefs about the role of virtue in living well, moves people to be virtuous. Call this claim ‘psychological eudaimonism’ (‘PE’). Neither Plato, Aristotle, nor the Stoics, however, investigate PE's warrant. After identifying the claim in these ancients' writings, this paper argues in their stead that PE is warranted by what is involved in understanding others as rational generally, and what is involved in understanding ourselves as practically rational specifically. The former is interestingly and unexpectedly informed by Donald Davidson’s account of linguistic interpretation. The latter is the ancients’ account of practical rationality itself.

Keywords: Aristotle; Davidson; Donald; eudaimonism; Plato; practical rationality; psychological eudaimonism; radical interpretation; Stoics

Chapter.  13669 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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