Happiness, Virtue, and the Apparent Good

Jessica Moss

in Aristotle on the Apparent Good

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742156 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Happiness, Virtue, and the Apparent Good

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This chapter turns to the other species of rational motivation, wish (boulêsis), arguing that this too is based on evaluative phantasia. When Aristotle says that we wish for what appears good to us, he means this in the technical sense. Wishes are for ends, and as Arisotle’s slogan ‘Virtue makes the goal right’ shows, we get our ends from our characters. Each person’s view of the end (her view of happiness, or of a particular goal in a particular situation) is a function of her character rather than of reasoning. Moreover, character is a state of the non-rational part of the soul, the part that has phantasia and perception but lacks intellect. Therefore it is phantasia rather than intellect which provides us with our goals, and wish is for the apparent good.

Keywords: virtue; Phronesis; character; wish; phantasia; ends; practical reasoning

Chapter.  26773 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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