Phronêsis and Kalokagathia in Eudemian Ethics VIII.3

Date
2022-01
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Source Title
Journal of The history of Philosophy
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Electronic ISSN
1538-4586
Publisher
Johns Hopkins Univ Press
Volume
60
Issue
1
Pages
1 - 23
Language
English
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Abstract

In Eudemian Ethics VIII.3, Aristotle treats a virtue that he calls kalokagathia, "nobility-and-goodness." This virtue appears to be quite important, and he even identifies it with "perfect virtue" (EEVIII.3, 1249a17). This makes it puzzling that the Nicomachean Ethics, a text that largely parallels the Eudemian Ethics, does not discuss kalokagathia at all. I argue that the reason for this difference has to do with the role that the intellectual virtue practical wisdom (phronesis) plays in these treatises. The Nicomachean Ethics, I argue, makes use of a more expansive conception of phronesis than does the Eudemian Ethics. Hence, the work that is done by kalokagathia in the Eudemian Ethics-crucially, accounting for the unity of the virtues-is done in the Nicomachean Ethics by phronesis.

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