Review of Inwood, Ethics After Aristotle [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 70 (4):873-74 (2017)
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The revised and polished version of Inwood’s 2011 Carl Newell Jackson at Harvard University, Ethics after Aristotle surveys the ethical teachings of the original “neo-Aristotelians,” namely those self-identified (although not always named) members of the Peripatetic school from the time of Theophrastus (fl. 300 BCE) until that of Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. 200 CE). An initial chapter surveys the sorts of problems in Aristotle’s ethical corpus which would generate subsequent debate amongst members of the Peripatetic school. Chapter Two examines the views of “Magnus,” the name which Inwood gives to the anonymous 3rd century author of the Magna Moralia (which Inwood takes to be pseudo-Aristotle), and those of Strato of Lampsacus, Lycon, and Hieronymus, 3rd century heads of the Peripatetic school, all of whom show the influences of Epicureanism in their re-articulations of Aristotelian positions. Chapter Three, entitled “The Turning Point,” finds in the work of Critolaus—head of the Peripatetic school in the middle of the 2nd century BCE—a move away from the centrality of activity within Aristotelian ethical thought, which Critolaus instead replaces with the notion of possessing specific goods, namely those of the body, the soul, and what is external. The same chapter argues that at approximately the same historical point Cicero, in the character of Piso in De finibus, articulated an account of Peripatetic ethics that was far more faithful to 4th century Aristotelianism. The final two chapters focus on neo-Aristotelian ethical philosophizing within a new and explicitly Roman cultural setting.
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