Aristotle on The Cognition of Value

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In my paper, I defend an interpretation according to which Aristotle thinks in Nicomachean Ethics (EN) that the rational aspect of soul is needed in discerning which ends of desire would be good. Many interpreters have traditionally supported this, ‘rationalist’ line of interpreting Aristotle’s theory of value cognition. The rationalist interpretation has, however, recently come under a novel challenge from Jessica Moss (2011, 2012), but has not yet received a defence. Moss attempts to resurrect now virtually abandoned ‘anti-rationalist’ interpretation, which claims, in a contrast to the rationalist one, that discerning good ends may require no activity from the rational aspect, but only well-habituated non-rational desire. Moss’ interpretation appeals to certain Aristotle’s claims in De Anima (DA) 3, which, she thinks, show that non-rational phantasia suffices for discerning good ends if only accompanied with the habituated desire. Although her interpretation can successfully avoid some problems that earlier anti-rationalist interpretations faced with certain passages of EN, I also argue, however that it introduces some new problems, and attributes philosophically incoherent views about moral responsibility to Aristotle. Therefore I conclude that even after Moss’ improvements to the anti-rationalist interpretation, the rationalist interpretation remains overall more plausible.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2015-10-04
Latest version: 2 (2015-10-04)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
322 ( #14,140 of 51,210 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
25 ( #23,136 of 51,210 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.