The Concept of Ergon: Towards An Achievement Interpretation of Aristotle's 'Function Argument'

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In Nicomachean Ethics 1. 7, Aristotle gives a definition of the human good, and he does so by means of the “ ergon argument.” I clear the way for a new interpretation of this argument by arguing that Aristotle does not think that the ergon of something is always the proper activity of that thing. Though he has a single concept of an ergon, Aristotle identifies the ergon of an X as an activity in some cases but a product in others, depending on the sort of thing the X is—for while the ergon of the eye is seeing, the ergon of a sculptor is a sculpture. This alternative interpretation of Aristotle’s concept of an ergon allows the key explanatory middle term of the ergon argument to be what, I argue, it ought to be: “the best achievement of a human.”
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Archival date: 2016-12-31
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