Comments on Flanner's "Force and Compulsion in Aristotle's Ethics"

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Aristotle’s notion of force seems to be the same as what we mean by “brute force,” or as an example of the Eudemian Ethics puts it, one is “forced” when one’s hand is literally seized by another and used to strike another person. But closer scrutiny suggests something else must be going on if for no other reason than that Aristotle, in his description of force, makes reference to a do-er (o( pra/ttwn [EN III.1.1110a2]). Based on such an insight, Flannery’s “Force and Compulsion in Aristotle’s Ethics” subjects the account of forced actions, actions done under compulsion, and so called “mixed actions” in Aristotle’s ethical treatises to careful scrutiny. In my comments I focus upon two of his claims: First, that although Aristotle includes a notion of “brute force” in his account of force, he doesn’t limit his account just to that notion; and second, that Aristotle’s account of force presupposes or includes what he calls “a particular anthropology.”
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Archival date: 2021-04-08
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