Teaching Nature: Natural Virtue and Practical Wisdom in the Nicomachean Ethics

Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (1):103-111 (2006)
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Abstract

Aristotle's account of virtue faces two dangers: the account appears circular, and the text seems to suggest that virtue is relative. Virtue sets the ends for practical wisdom. Without practical wisdom, though, one lacks 'real virtue.' Virtue and practical wisdom appear to depend upon each other. Further, habituation is the source of virtue. Virtue appears to depend upon one's training; virtue looks relative. The concept of 'natural virtue' offers an escape from these difficulties. Virtue and practical wisdom, though related, are not related in a vicious circle. Further, 'natural virtue' guarantees that Aristotle's virtue is not relativistic.

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Yancy Dominick
Seattle University

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