The Two Categorizations of Goods in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (4):297-315 (2021)
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Abstract

This article resolves some difficulties with Aristotle's discussion of the choice-worthy (haireton). Nicomachean Ethics I posits goods that are choice-worthy for themselves and for something else, but Nicomachean Ethics X appears to present being choice-worthy for itself as mutually exclusive with being choice-worthy for something else; moreover, Nicomachean Ethics X seems to claim that action is choice-worthy for itself and, therefore, not choice-worthy for something else but also seems to claim that action is choice-worthy for something else and, therefore, not choice-worthy for itself. As for the latter problem internal to Nicomachean Ethics X, I argue that Aristotle is ultimately committed to the idea that action is choice-worthy for something else. As for the problem between Nicomachean Ethics I and X, I argue that Nicomachean Ethics X only claims something admitted by Nicomachean Ethics I: being choice-worthy for something else is mutually exclusive with being choice-worthy only for itself.

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Bradford Jean-Hyuk Kim
University of Southampton