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Title: Virtue, Actions, and Ends in Aristotle's Ethics
Authors: Hirji, Sukaina Hirji
Advisors: Lorenz, Hendrik
Morison, Benjamin
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Aristotle
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Are ethically virtuous actions ends in themselves, choiceworthy for their own sake? Or, instead, are they the sorts of actions choiceworthy for the good ends or consequences they aim to realize? In the \textit{Nicomachean Ethics} (NE) Aristotle seems committed to both claims. Whether Aristotle is in fact inconsistent on this point is no trivial matter; the relationship between virtuous actions and their ends bears directly on the central question of the NE, the nature of human happiness. My dissertation argues that in order to understand the way in which virtuous actions are related to their ends, we need to get clear on what it means, in the first place, for an action to be an end. It is often thought that actions are ends by being what agents aim at, or ought to aim at, in their deliberations. This, I argue, is a mistake. The notion of ends at play in Aristotle's descriptions of virtuous actions is the same one found throughout his theoretical philosophy: certain actions are ends in much the same teleological sense in which an oak tree is the end of an acorn, and health is the end of the medical art. Appreciating how Aristotle's metaphysical conception of ends is at work in his ethical theory can shed new light on old debates about the nature of virtuous actions and their relationship to eudaimonia.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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