Disappointingly, the texts are indecisive. In fact, the passages from VI.12 and 13 fit our interpretation quite well. Without supplementation it is quite clear that the phrase all’ aretē ē phusikē ē ethistē tou orthodoxein peri tēn archēn applies both to theoretical and to practical thought, not merely to the latter, as Bostock et al. (15) Aristotle’s account of practical reason could be characterized as intellectualist, not because he ignores the very important role of desire, but because reason plays the leading role, and desire is naturally inclined to follow reason (“desire is consequent upon opinion … for the thinking is the starting point”). To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. I have discussed this topic in Taylor (2008), with particular emphasis on the question of how the intellect is related to the agent’s long-term goals. The clearest indication that Aristotle has seen this distinction is the fact that he assigns a particular name, phronēsis, to the specific excellence of that second-order activity, distinguished alike from theoretical excellence (sophia) and from first-order practical excellence, i.e., skill at any particular craft. Bostock is typical; he translates a17–19 as follows: “In neither case is it reasoning (logos) which teaches us the first principles, but [in the case of actions] it is virtue, either natural or habitual (ethistē), that teaches us right opinion about the first principle.” The supplementation in square brackets is essential for this interpretation; but this supplementation seems to me unnecessary, and therefore unjustified. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. The second, more substantial problem is this: does the exercise of moral nous allow any genuine role to deliberation? PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). So Reeve [1992], ch. The description of the appetites as listening to reason is, then, inconsistent with Moss’s basic assumption that the appetites are unqualifiedly non-rational. [1900], The Ethics of Aristotle, Oxford.Find this resource: Burnyeat, M. [1980], “Aristotle on Learning to Be Good,” in Rorty [1980], 69–92.Find this resource: Cooper, J. Please try again. The basic misunderstanding is simply the characterization of the appetitive soul as, unqualifiedly, non-rational, and hence of the habituation of the appetites as a non-rational process (e.g., Moss [2011], p. 205: “we each reach our view of what happiness consists in—virtuous activity, for example, or the life of pleasure or of honour—not by any intellectual process, but instead through the non-rational habituation of the non-rational part of the soul”; and [2012], p. 70: “In the ethical works Aristotle attributes the passions to a part of the human soul which exercises perception and phantasia but is not capable of belief … which implies that if they are based on cognition at all it must be non-rational cognition, perception or phantasia”). Perhaps that is Aristotle’s final position; we conceive the ends of action only indeterminately, e.g., as living temperately, courageously, etc., and the task of practical thinking is to make those conceptions determinate.36 Perhaps that is what deliberation is, and we are misled by those passages that suggest that deliberation requires a determinately specified end.37 We must, however, consider another possibility, which also has some textual support. This conclusion is strengthened by consideration of the structural parallelism between the respective excellences of the theoretical intellect (sophia) and the practical (phronēsis). 227–236. (23) Cf. Deliberation toward given ends and grasp of the right ends, Deliberation, then, cannot be autonomous; necessarily, it takes its starting points from elsewhere.


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