, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 57-71

First online:

An All-inclusive Interpretation of Aristotle’s Contemplative Life

  • Wei LiuAffiliated withSchool of Philosophy, Renmin University of China Email author 

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The debate between ‘inclusive’ and ‘dominant’ interpretations of Aristotle's concept of happiness (eudaimonia) has become one of the thorniest problems of Aristotle interpretation. In this paper, I attempt to solve this problem by presenting a multi-step argument for an ‘all-inclusive’ thesis, i.e., the Aristotelian philosopher or contemplator, in the strict sense, is someone who already possesses all the intellectual virtues (except technē), all the moral virtues (by way of the possession of phronēsis), and considerable other goods. If this thesis is correct, the inclusive and dominant interpretations will converge, for the philosopher turns out to be the happiest human being both in the inclusive and dominant senses.


Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics Happiness (eudaimonia) Contemplation (theōria) Wisdom (sophia) Prudence (phronēsis) All-inclusive interpretation