Review of Flannery, Action and Character According to Aristotle: The Logic of Moral Life [Book Review]

Ancient Philosophy 38 (1):217-218 (2018)
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Flannery’s volume looks in two directions. On the one hand, as Flannery announces in the book’s introduction, the chapters in the volume were intended to shed light on three specific ‘background’ issues in contemporary ethics and the interpretation of Thomas Aquinas, namely, Aquinas’ notion of ethical theory (as articulated especially in Summa Theologica 1-2.6-21), the ramifications of physical actions on moral evaluation in contemporary ethics (for instance, whether the fact that an abortion consists specifically in the crushing of a fetus’ skull rather than some other form of terminating the fetus has moral relevance), and the understanding of Aquinas’ ‘principle of double effect’ (Summa Theologica 2-2.64.7). On the other hand, the eight chapters (and two appendices) are all devoted to the exegesis of passages in Aristotle’s corpus (primarily the ethical treatises, but with substantial discussions of passages from the Prior Analytics, the Physics, and the Metaphysics insofar as they shed light on passages in the eth-ical corpus). Although the exegetical chapters are motivated by contemporary and Thomistic background issues, the exegesis appears entirely grounded in Aristotle’s (rather than Aristotelian) texts.
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