Toward a Critical Appropriation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics for the 21st Century
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This is a working paper that presents the first phase of what will eventually be a huge project, namely a critical appropriation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Early on it provides a sketch of the main strands of Aristotle’s theoretical web in his N. Eth-ics. Following that, the paper offers some critical commentary concerning some of Aris-totle’s main positions: especially his views on moral virtue, the soul, intellectual virtue, and human well-being. The paper then turns to the development of some significantly different ways of construing both intellectual virtue as well as moral virtue. With re-spect to intellectual virtue, I present my own perspective in interconnection with a pro-cess-oriented way of understanding reality, as opposed to Aristotle’s substance-oriented way. With respect to moral virtue, I present my interpretation in relation to a this-worldly understanding of the human spirit/soul, as well as a humanistic-Marxist inter-pretation of human well-being. Toward the paper’s end, I offer some suggestions con-cerning a modified “doctrine of the mean” that would be a sort of critical synthesis of the views of Aristotle and Confucius.
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