Chapter

<i>Phantasia</i> and Deliberation

Jessica Moss

in Aristotle on the Apparent Good

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656349.003.0006

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Phantasia and Deliberation

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The remainder of the book argues that evaluative phantasia plays a crucial role even in our distinctively rational, distinctively human motivations, by showing that evaluative thought (thought of things as good or bad, on which rational motivations are based) derives its content from evaluative phantasia. This chapter first lays the groundwork for that argument by examining the parallels Aristotle draws between theoretical and practical reasoning: in both spheres he distinguishes between calculations (theoretical deduction, practical deliberation), and the starting-points of calculation (theoretical axioms, posits and definitions; practical goals). In the theoretical sphere he shows that thought depends on phantasia at both stages, and we can use the parallels between theoretical and practical reasoning to show that this is true in the practical sphere too. The chapter then focuses on deliberation (practical calculation), showing that this uses evaluative phantasia as an aid, just as deduction (theoretical calculation) uses ordinary phantasia as an aid. Thus the rational motivations that result from deliberation – prohaireseis – can only be for things one can pleasurably imagine, i.e. imagine as good: apparent goods, in the technical sense developed in Chapter 3.

Keywords: phantasia; deliberation; decision; practical reasoning; theoretical reasoning; deduction

Chapter.  8837 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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