The Doing of Justice and the Priority of Acting from Virtue

Phronesis 66 (4):366-401 (2021)
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Aristotle famously distinguishes between merely doing a virtuous action and acting in the way in which a virtuous person would. Against an interpretation prominent in recent scholarship, I argue that ‘acting virtuously,’ in the sense of exercising a virtue actually possessed, is prior to ‘virtuous action,’ understood generically. I propose that the latter notion is best understood as a derivative abstraction from the former, building upon a reading of a neglected distinction between per se and coincidentally just action in Nicomachean Ethics 5, and thus shed light on the meaning and philosophical significance of the priority of acting from virtue.



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Patricio A. Fernandez
University of Texas at Austin

References found in this work

Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Aristotle’s Definition of Scientific Knowledge.Lucas Angioni - 2016 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 19 (1):79-104.
Priority in Aristotle’s Metaphysics.Michail M. Peramatzis - 2011 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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