<i>Megalopsychia</i> and Appropriate Ambition (NE IV.3–4)

Howard J. Curzer

in Aristotle and the Virtues

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693726
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738890 | DOI:
Megalopsychia and Appropriate Ambition (NE IV.3–4)

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Some interpreters take megalopsychia to be fundamentally concerned with honor, but this chapter argues that greatness and self-knowledge are the core components of megalopsychia. This eliminates some interpretive problems, but others remain. Not only is Aristotle’s treatment of megalopsychia internally inconsistent, it also clashes with certain other parts of Aristotle’s ethics. These problems arise because Aristotle defines megalopsychia as a combination of unrelated characteristics. Aristotle could avoid these problems by modifying his treatment of megalopsychia, and fleshing out his doctrine of the mean in a way which allows for heroic virtue.

Keywords: megalopsychia; pride; greatness of soul; appropriate ambition; honor; heroic virtue

Chapter.  11066 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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