Aristotle on the choice of lives: Two concepts of self-sufficiency

In Pierre Destrée & Marco Zingano (eds.), Theoria: Studies on the Status and Meaning of Contemplation in Aristotle's Ethics. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishing. pp. 111-133 (2014)
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Aristotle's treatment of the choice between the political and contemplative lives (in EN I 5 and X 7-8) can seem awkward. To offer one explanation of this, I argue that when he invokes self-sufficience (autarkeia) as a criterion for this choice, he appeals to two different and incompatible specifications of "lacking nothing." On one specification, suitable to a human being living as a political animal and thus seeking to realize his end as an engaged citizen of a polis, a person lacks nothing by possessing a wide range of goods that directly require other people. On the other, more suitable to a god or a beast, a person lacks nothing by having no need of goods that directly require other people. The ambiguity of this criterion renders the choice between the political and contemplative lives difficult.
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Aristotle on Self-Sufficiency, External Goods, and Contemplation.Marc Gasser-Wingate - 2020 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 102 (1):1-28.
Contemplative Withdrawal in the Hellenistic Age.Eric Brown - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):79-89.

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