By Anthony Kenny
Aristotle's educating with reference to happiness has been a subject matter of severe philosophical debate lately; it really is of important significance to the query of the relevance of his ethics at this time. Aristotle's admirers fight to learn a complete account of the preferrred happiness into the Nicomachean Ethics; Kenny argues that those people who are ready to take the ignored Eudemian Ethics heavily safeguard their admiration intact with out doing violence to any of the appropriate texts of the Nicomachean Ethics. Kenny has subtle his place at the relation among the 2 works, providing a clean exam and interpretation of the Eudemian Ethics at the foundation of the 1991 Oxford Classical textual content. He combines scholarly dialogue of the Greek texts with mirrored image of the themes coated via Aristotle, taking account of post-Aristotelian remedies of issues equivalent to ethical vocation and ethical success.
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Additional info for Aristotle on the Perfect Life
They suggest how 34 A L AS D A I R M A C I N T Y R E the history of philosophy as a subdiscipline may on occasion help to reinforce the prejudices of the present by insulating us from that in the past which would most disquiet us. Once again there is nothing in the argument which suggests that any part of the past is ever necessarily unavailable. But the multiplication of contingent factors also suggests that we cannot rule out either of two possibilities. One is that there may be periods in the history of philosophy so mutually alien that the later cannot hope to comprehend the earlier adequately, but will inescapably mis interpret.
So had Socrates only possessed Hare's degree of insight, he would never have got into his famous troubles. What Plato actually represented Socrates as doing and saying has had to undergo two successive transformations in order that it should provide Hare with Socrates as a whipping-boy. The original context in the Protagoras is a dialectical one in which Socrates' immediate purpose is the refutation of the belief of hoi polloi that human beings may be diverted from the pursuit of what they know to be good by being overcome by the attraction of pleasure, in which Socrates' larger purpose concerns the place of knowledge in the virtues.
But this misrepresentation is itself further misrepresented when Aristotle's discussion of akrasia is treated by Hare as a discussion of the same topics that Hare discusses under the rubrics of 'backsliding' and 'weakness of will', so that Hare's account of these matters can be used - as it is by Hare - to make clear to us what was true and what was false in Socrates' (and by implication Aristotle's) account of akrasia. What this ignores are crucial differences in moral and cultural context so that the place of backsliding in any modern morality has to be very different from that of akrasia in Athenian thought and practice.