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By Anthony Celano

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics had a profound impact on generations of later philosophers, not just within the historical period but in addition within the medieval interval and past. during this ebook, Anthony Celano explores how medieval authors recast Aristotle's Ethics in line with their very own ethical beliefs. He argues that the ethical normal for the Ethics is a human one, that is dependent upon the moral culture and the simplest practices of a given society. within the heart a while, this human general was once changed by means of person who is universally appropriate, due to the fact its beginning is everlasting immutable divine legislation. Celano resolves the conflicting debts of happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, demonstrates the significance of the advantage of phronesis (practical wisdom), and exhibits how the medieval view of ethical reasoning alters Aristotle's inspiration of ethical knowledge.

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Extra resources for Aristotle’s Ethics and Medieval Philosophy: Moral Goodness and Practical Wisdom

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If happiness is truly an activity according to virtue, it is reasonable to conclude that the highest human good must consist in the virtuous action of the best element within human nature. Aristotle's discussion of this topic begins with his usual method of posing questions and considering a number of opinions. It may be that the intellect (vouc; = nous) reigns supreme or that something else guides and rules human operations. It may also be that nous is divine or only what is most divine in us.

But he never seems to have considered the problem as a serious objection to his moral thought. He does not indicate any conflict within the activities of the morally good person. Certainly one could argue that a contemplative individual would have little use for political strife within a certain society, since governmental policies are not marked by the intellectual constancy of speculative sciences. On the other hand, the adept politician would care little for questions concerning the ground of existence because an awareness of questions on the source of being would contribute little to fiscal and civic policy.

While the practically wise are clearly good, wisdom and goodness are not coextensive terms. Socrates was correct when he said nothing is more fitting than wisdom (phronesis), but was wrong in calling practical wisdom knowledge (episteme). Phronesis is a virtue (arete) and a form of knowing that is different from episteme. 34 By distinguishing between phronesis and episteme, Aristotle has distanced his own theory of morality from that of Socrates and Plato, who based their theory on the principle that virtue is knowledge.

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