Partaking of Reason in a Way: Aristotle on the Rationality of Human Desire

Three times in Book 1 chapter 13 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says desire partakes of reason in a way. There is a consensus view in the literature about what that claim means: desire has no intrinsic rationality, but can partake of reason by being blindly obedient to the commands of reason. I argue this consensus view is mistaken: for Aristotle, adult human desire has its own intrinsic rationality, and while it is to be obedient to reason, it is not blind obedience, for when reason tells desire to obey, it includes an explanation supporting its order which desire can at least potentially understand. Thus, the nature of human desire, and also of the characteristic interaction of desire and reason, is much different than it is standardly taken to be.
Keywords Desire  Partaking  Reason  Aristotle  Obedience Model  Transformative Model
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,066
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Indication of Aristotle’s Prohairesis.Dohyoung Kim - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 2 (2):165-170.
Aristotle and the Origins of Evil.Jozef Müller - 2020 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 65 (2):179-223.
Reason and Desire.Michael Smith - 1988 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 88:243-58.
Are There Extrinsic Desires?David K. Chan - 2004 - Noûs 38 (2):326-50.
Aristotle on Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law.Jill Frank - 2007 - Theoretical Inquiries in Law 8 (1):37-50.
Aristotle on Desire.Giles Pearson - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Desire and Vision: Problems of Conversion.Julia Meszaros - 2013 - Philosophy and Theology 25 (2):199-227.
The Problem of Heaven.Brian Ribeiro - 2011 - Ratio 24 (1):46-64.
The Desire for Good in Plato and Aristotle.Mariana Demetra Anagnostopoulos - 2001 - Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
Desire and Vision: Problems of Conversion.Julia Meszaros - 2013 - Philosophy and Theology 25 (2):199-227.
Colloquium 2 How to Argue About Aristotle About Practical Reason.Giles Pearson - 2020 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 35 (1):31-58.
Reason and Value. [REVIEW]Deborah Achtenberg - 1986 - Review of Metaphysics 39 (3):556-558.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes