Decision, Rational Powers, and Irrational Powers

in Confronting Aristotle's Ethics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780226283982
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226284019 | DOI:
Decision, Rational Powers, and Irrational Powers

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This chapter highlights the contrast between rhetoric and virtue. Unlike the arts, the virtues bring the soul into good condition and so are psychologically satisfying. This dimension of virtue relates activities not to the processes they complete but to the powers they realize, corresponding to what is called the psychological. The relation of virtue to soul makes the virtues rational in a different way from the rationality of art. The arts, including rhetoric, do not bring the soul into good condition, and so the arts, unlike the virtues, are not a constituent part of the good life. The rationality of virtue is a development, an energeia, of the irrational, desiring soul, while art is not. Here is a mode of practical rationality that does not exclude passion.

Keywords: rhetoric; virtue; soul; rationality; arts; good life; energeia

Chapter.  9782 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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