A Monistic Conclusion to Aristotle’s Ergon Argument: the Human Good as the Best Achievement of a Human

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 103 (3):373-403 (2021)
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Scholars have often thought that a monistic reading of Aristotle’s definition of the human good – in particular, one on which “best and most teleios virtue” refers to theoretical wisdom – cannot follow from the premises of the ergon argument. I explain how a monistic reading can follow from the premises, and I argue that this interpretation gives the correct rationale for Aristotle’s definition. I then explain that even though the best and most teleios virtue must be a single virtue, that virtue could in principle be a whole virtue that arises from the combination of all the others. I also clarify that the definition of the human good aims at capturing the nature of human eudaimonia only in its primary case.

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Samuel H. Baker
University of South Alabama


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