Written by one of the most important founding figures of Western philosophy, Aristotle’s _Nicomachean Ethics_ represents a critical point in the study of ethics which has influenced the direction of modern philosophy. The _Routledge Guidebook to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics_ introduces the major themes in Aristotle’s great book and acts as a companion for reading this key work, examining: The context of Aristotle’s work and the background to his writing Each separate part of the text in relation to its goals, meanings (...) and impact The reception the book received when first seen by the world The relevance of Aristotle’s work to modern philosophy, its legacy and influence. With further reading included throughout, this text is essential reading for all students of philosophy, and all those wishing to get to grips with this classic work. (shrink)
Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_ is one of the most important texts in western philosophy, and arguably the most influential text on contemporary moral theory. This _GuideBook_ introduces and assesses: * Aristotle's life and the background to the _Nicomachean Ethics_ * The ideas and text of the _Nicomachean Ethics_ * Aristotle's central role in philosophy and his continuing contribution to our ethical thought.
The detail with which Aristotle discusses the moral virtues might suggest that he is adopting some version of the theory which in our own day is described as ‘virtue ethics’. I shall argue that his emphasis on the importance of proper character formation does not imply the this rather than actions is the primary focus of ethics. Similarly, it will be argued that Aristotle does not intend to suggest that consideration of the virtues offers a much more promising approach to (...) difficult moral issues than is provided by considering moral principles and their complex inter-relationships. And, though Aristotle does in one passage say that it is moral virtue – and hence emotional response – which makes the end of our actions right, it would be a mistake to think of him as a kind of proto-Humean. Aristotle does find a role for moral principles, for deliberation, and for practical wisdom as an intellectual virtue. At the heart of his account is a subtle and complex relationship between emotion, insight, and reasoning. His view of moral decision making is both more startling and more defensible than one might expect. (shrink)
This article assumes that the key element in Relativism is the denial of any comparability between different moral codes. Each system of morality is, according to the relativist, defined internally to any given culture, as parallels with examples in sport might illustrate, and as two key examples from recent moral disputes amply show. While classical writers such as Hume and Bentham, each in his way a kind of utilitarian, certainly intended to be absolutist, it might nevertheless be argued that they (...) left the way open to relativism despite their intentions. The absolutist needs to establish a common moral standard of some kind which can be used as a standard of comparison between apparently different moral codes. Hume's assumption that we share the disposition to sympathy with others seems far too optimistic; and Bentham's attempt to be scientific presupposes a shared view both of values and of the canons of moral reasoning; but there is arguably no such shared view. Might some version of Aristotelianism be a more promising approach? The article ends with an ariswer to this question. /// O presente artigo parte do pressuposto de que o elemento-chave do Relativismo é a negação de toda e qualquer comparabilidade entre diferentes códigos morais. Cada sistema de moralidade é, de acordo com o relativista, deftnido internamente nos termos de cada cultura determinada, tal como se pode ilustrar com exemplos do mundo do desporto, e dois exemplos tirados da discussão moral mais recente amplamente demonstram. Enquanto que escritores clássicos tais como David Hume e Jeremy Bentham, cada um deles utilitarista à sua maneira, pretendiam certamente ser absolutistas, a verdade é que, argumenta o autor do artigo, ambos deixaram, apesar das suas intenções, o caminho aberto ao relativismo. O absolutista necessita de alguma forma de estabelecer um padrão moral comum que possa ser usado como termo de comparação entre códigos morais aparentemente diferenciados. O pressuposto de Hume de que nós partilhamos uma inclinação para a simpatia em relação a outros seres humanos parece demasiado optimista; por seu lado, a tentativa de Bentham de corresponder às expectativas da ciência pressupõem, por seu lado, uma visdo comum dos valores e dos cânones do raciocínio moral. O problema, porém, é que se pode demonstrar não existir uma tal visão comum. Assim, pergunta o autor do artigo, não será de considerar uma certa versão do Aristotelismo como uma abordagem mais promissora? A resposta a esta questão constitui a parte final do artigo. (shrink)