, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 57–71 | Cite as

An All-inclusive Interpretation of Aristotle’s Contemplative Life



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 (eudaimoniaContemplation (theōriaWisdom (sophiaPrudence (phronēsisAll-inclusive interpretation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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