Praxis Filosófica 43:77–102 (2016)

Juan Pablo Bermúdez
Universidad Externado De Colombia
Interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of action in the last few decades has tended toward an intellectualist position, according to which reason is in charge of setting the goals of action. This position has recently been criticized by the revival of anti-intellectualism (particularly from J. Moss’ work), according to which character, and not reason, sets the goals of action. In this essay I argue that neither view can sufficiently account for the complexities of Aristotle’s theory, and propose an intermediate account, which I call indirect intellectualism, that preserves the merits of both traditional interpretations and is able to dispel the problems that trouble each. There is very strong textual evidence for the claim that goal-setting is the task not of reason but of character (and in this anti-intellectualists are right); but reason is able to set goals indirectly by carefully shaping the processes of habituation that constitute a person’s character (and in this intellectualists are right). I argue for this position through a study of the division of labour between character and reason, and through a reconstruction of Aristotle’s conception of habituation.
Keywords action  control  habit  reason  care
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: 65,714
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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Practical Reason, Value and Action.Alison Hills - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (3):375-392.
Aristotle's Conception of Practical Truth.Christiana Megan Meyvis Olfert - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (2):205-231.
Theories of Practical Reason.Eric Wiland - 2002 - Metaphilosophy 33 (4):450-467.
‘Virtue Makes the Goal Right.Jessica Moss - 2011 - Phronesis 56 (3):204-261.
Saggezza o Filosofia Pratica?Enrico Berti - 2005 - Etica E Politica 7 (2):1-14.
Reason Claims and Contrastivism About Reasons.Justin Snedegar - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):231-242.
Moral Considerations and Reasons for Action.Montey Gene Holloway - 1981 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
Reasons for Action.David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.) - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
Hexis Within Aristotelian Virtue Ethics.Mathew T. Lu - 2014 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 88:197-206.


Added to PP index

Total views
68 ( #161,627 of 2,462,776 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #144,426 of 2,462,776 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes