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Philosophy General

Aristotle on the Sources of the Ethical Life

by (author) Sylvia Berryman

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
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Aristotle on the Sources of the Ethical Life challenges the common belief that Aristotle's ethics is founded on an appeal to human nature, an appeal that is thought to be intended to provide both substantive ethical advice and justification for the demands of ethics. Sylvia Berryman argues that this is not Aristotle's intent, while resisting the view that Aristotle was blind to questions of the source or justification of his ethical views. She interprets Aristotle's views as a "middle way" between the metaphysical grounding offered by Platonists, and the scepticism or subjectivist alternatives articulated by others. The commitments implicit in the nature of action figure prominently in this account: Aristotle reinterprets Socrates' famous paradox that no-one does evil willingly, taking it to mean that a commitment to pursuing the good is implicit in the very nature of action.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Sylvia Berryman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Her previous research into the history of ancient Greek ideas about the sciences and their impact on philosophy led to her current interest in the impact of Aristotle's biological work on his conception of the good in ethics. She is also interested in the applications of Aristotelian virtue ethics in contemporary philosophy.