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|Title: ||Good, Reason and Objectivity in Aristotle|
|Authors: ||Scaltsas, Dory|
|Issue Date: ||1996|
|Citation: ||'Good, Reason, and Objectivity in Aristotle', in D. Koutras, ed., Aristotelian Ethics and Its Influence, (Athens, 1996) 292-305.|
|Abstract: ||In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle begins his investigation by
exploring the nature of the end of all action. In the very first sentence of
the work he says: "Every art and every enquiry and similarly every action
and pursuit is thought to aim at some good and for this reason the good
has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim" (1094al-3).
It is easy, says Aristotle, to find verbal agreement between people
regarding that good because they all consider it to be happiness (eudaimonia).
Aristotle says: " Let us resume our inquiry and state in view of the fact
that all knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good, what it is that we
say that Political Science aims at and what is the highest of all good
achievable by action. Verbally, there is very general ageement; for both
the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it is
happiness, arrd identify living well and doing well with being happy"
(1095a13-19). But there is no agreement between people with regard to
what the good is. Some think it is pleasure, others wealth, others honour
and so on, for each what happens to be most desirable to them.
As is well known Aristotle's general method of approach to a new subject
relies on the endoxrg namely the respected opinions of society. But in
this case, as he informs us, there is much and radical disagreement on the
accepted even the respected positions within society on the subject of what
eudaimonia is. For this reason, far from finding the truth in the respected
opinions of society, Aristotle cannot use them even as his starting point.
Thus we'find him turning to argument, a metaphysical one at that, in order
to be assisted in his endeavour to determine the nature of the good at
which human action aims. This is the well known function (ergon)
argument. My concern in the present article is to study the steps of this|
|Appears in Collections:||Philosophy research publications|
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