Practical Wisdom and Reciprocity of Virtue (NE VI.12–13)

Howard J. Curzer

in Aristotle and the Virtues

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693726
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738890 | DOI:
Practical Wisdom and Reciprocity of Virtue (NE VI.12–13)

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Roughly speaking, proper virtue is natural virtue plus practical wisdom. Aristotle’s Reciprocity of Virtue thesis says that while people may possess only some natural virtues, a person with any proper virtue possesses every proper virtue.Most interpreters take practical wisdom to be the knowledge of which acts are virtuous. To act well, people must balance different values against each other. The practical wisdom necessary to act well in any sphere covers all spheres. Acquiring it thus produces all of the virtues.By contrast, this chapter argues that practical wisdom is the knowledge of why acts are virtuous. To know why, people must understand the role of virtues in a happy life. If naturally virtuous people are missing only this knowledge, then they have good habits. They already know which acts are right. Reciprocity of virtue turns out to be a precondition, rather than a result of practical wisdom acquisition

Keywords: practical wisdom; reciprocity of virtue; the that; the because; natural virtue; proper virtue

Chapter.  12849 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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