Controversy and Practical Reason in Aristotle

  • Nuno M. M. S. Coelho
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 23)


This chapter aims to show how the Aristotelian theory of practical reasoning presupposes and mobilises a linguistic community in a specific sense and to understand the dialogical structure assumed by practical reason.

We follow two lines of argumentation.

From the reconstruction of Aristotle’s cultural background – Athens shackled by the antilogical perspective that was disseminated among sophists and sceptical thinkers in the fifth and fourth centuries – we see how Aristotle addresses this central statement (the provocative Protagorean doctrine of antilogiae) and how his entire philosophy is influenced by it.

Dialogue, contrasting opinions and linguistic controversy not only structure Aristotle’s methods in the practical sciences but are also assumed to be at the very heart of his conception of human beings, political communities and eudaimonia.

At the same time, a language community works as a model for the phenomenological reconstruction of practical reason. The deliberation process seems to be a dialogue, as decisions result from the intervention of different dimensions of the soul. One’s soul is analogically described as an Agora; the mind is a stage wherein many voices coexist, and sometimes fight.


Practical Reason Practical Wisdom Language Community Nicomachean Ethic Practical Science 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de Direito de Ribeirão PretoUniversity of São PauloRibeirão Preto, São PauloBrazil

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