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Title: Between Virtue & Temptation: Self-Control, Action, & Practical Thought in Aristotle's Ethics
Authors: Gibson, Christopher-Marcus
Advisors: Morison, Benjamin
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: action
Subjects: Philosophy
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In contrast to his conceptions of virtuous and akratic character types, Aristotle’s conception of self-control (enkrateia) has received comparatively little attention. This is surprising, given the close similarities between self-control and character virtue. Crucially, both virtuous and enkratic people are guided in action by true practical judgments, which suggests that they both do the right thing for the right reasons. This, in turn, challenges the unique and central role that virtue, in contrast to self-control, plays in the account of excellent action and practical thought found in the Nicomachean Ethics (NE). I develop an account of enkratic action and practical thought, on the basis of relevant texts from NE I-IV, VI-VII, and De Anima III.9-11. I argue that the bad appetitive reactions of enkratic people bring with them intruding impressions -- false rational appearances of bad objects as good-- that impede their practical thought both in deliberation and in the performance of particular actions. Since enkratic people must overcome these intruding impressions, their recognition of the practical reason for a given action does not suffice to lead them to action; they must make the additional step of rejecting the bad alternative. In this way, unlike virtuous people, their actions fail to be guided fully by the practical reasons alone.
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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