Advertisement

Aristotle on Discovering and Desiring the Real Good

  • Mariana Anagnostopoulos
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 117)

Abstract

Aristotle’s treatment of the type of desire he terms “wish” appears to be a rejection of the Socratic idea that the desire for the real good is universal, as it is the ultimate desire of virtuous and vicious alike. Indeed, in Plato’s Socratic arguments, the ultimate good and good things are the only objects of desire. At Nicomachean Ethics III.4 Aristotle considers the important question whether we desire what appears good, what is really good, or both, and concludes that an accurate account must include both objects. In denying that wish is exclusively for what is truly good, Aristotle would seem to commit himself in some way to the alternative, that wish is for what appears good. His conclusion, however, is that the object of wish is the apparent good only “to each,” while “in truth” it is the real good. I will attempt in what follows to render meaningful the contrast Aristotle takes there to be between the two views he rejects, in a way that leaves room for the third option he endorses.

Keywords

Good Person Virtuous Person Nicomachean Ethic Virtuous Action Proper Object 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

It is truly a pleasure to contribute to the present volume in honor of Jerry Santas, whose dedication to the study of Plato and Aristotle has shaped my deep appreciation for the insights of the ancient Greek thinkers. I am fortunate to have, in Jerry, a mentor who has so generously encouraged and challenged my thought over so many years. I wish to thank both Jerry Santas and Georgios Anagnostopoulos for helpful critical comments on the present paper.

Bibliography

  1. Broadie, S., and C.J. Rowe. 2002. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Charles, D. 1984. Aristotle’s Philosophy of Action. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Evans, J.D.G. 1987. Aristotle. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  4. Forster, E.S., trans. 1960. Aristotle: Topics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Grant, A. 1973. The Ethics of Aristotle. New York: Arno Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hackforth, R., trans. 1971. “Plato: Philebus”. In Plato: The Collected Dialogues, edited by E. Hamilton. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hamlyn, W.D., trans. 1968. Aristotle: De Anima. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Irwin, T., trans. 1979. Plato: Gorgias. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Irwin, T., trans. 1999. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  10. Joachim, H.H., trans. 1962. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Jowett, B. 1968. “Aristotle: Politics”. In The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by R. McKeon. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  12. Keyt, D. 1983. “Intellectualism in Aristotle.” In Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, edited by J. Anton and A. Preus. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  13. Penner, T., and C.J. Rowe. 1994. “The Desire for Good: Is the Meno Inconsistent with the Gorgias?” Phronesis XXXIX:1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rackham, H., trans. 1926. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Reeve, C.D.C. 1992. Practices of Reason: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  16. Roberts, R., trans. 1968. “Aristotle: Rhetoric”. In The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by R. McKeon. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  17. Ross, W.D., trans. 1984. “Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics”. In The Complete Works of Aristotle, edited by J. Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Santas, G. 1979. Socrates. London: Routledge & Kegan.Google Scholar
  19. Santas, G. 1989. “Desire and Perfection in Aristotle’s Theory of the Good.” Apeiron 22(2):75–99.Google Scholar
  20. Shorey, P., trans. 1937. Plato: Republic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Tredennick, H., trans. 1962. Aristotle: Metaphysics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Woods, M., trans. 1992. Aristotle: Eudemian Ethics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State UniversityFresnoUSA

Personalised recommendations