The Carpenter and the Good 

Rachel Barney

in Pursuing the Good

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748628117
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652488 | DOI:
The Carpenter and the Good 

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This chapter addresses the question of how good an argument Aristotle has at the end of Nicomachean Ethics I.6, in his final criticism of Plato's Form of the Good, presenting the argument from the crafts – the seventh, last and most promising argument offered in NE I.6. The argument from the crafts claims that the Good fails to have any bearing on the crafts, which are uncontroversially the spheres of practical rationality par excellence; and the counterpart discussion in the Eudemian Ethics makes it explicit that this includes the craft of the ruler, political science (politik ê). If the Form of the Good is quite generally useless for practical reasoning, Plato is not entitled to postulate its existence.

Keywords: Aristotle; Nicomachean Ethics; Plato; Form of Good; argument from crafts

Chapter.  13577 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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