Aristotle, Appropriateness and Appropriation: Getting the Foundations of Virtue Ethics Right
A very common charge against Aristotle’s virtue ethics is that it is selfish or egoistic, and much work is done in contemporary philosophy to ameliorate Aristotle’s theory on this basis. While, prima facie, the charge of egoism does not seem wholly untrue, upon closer examination these accusations are misplaced for two reasons. Firstly, because they are based on an interpretation of his claims which is isolated from the rest of his thought, and, secondly, because they are based on a modern notion of the self. Here I specifically challenge Thomas Hurka’s well-known and oft-accepted criticisms of Aristotle and his framing of Aristotle’s ethical theory as egoistic.
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University of Victoria