Aristotle on Function and Virtue

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Aristotle on Function and Virtue

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Title: Aristotle on Function and Virtue
Author: Korsgaard, Christine
Citation: Korsgaard, Christine M. 2008. Aristotle on function and virtue. In The Constitution of Agency, 151-173. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Originally published in History of Philosophy Quarterly 3(3): 259-279.
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Abstract: According to Plato and Aristotle, a virtue is a quality that makes you good at performing your function. Aristotle thinks that the human function is rational activity. This chapter asks how the moral virtues could contribute to rational activity. It distinguishes five different answers suggested by the text of the Nicomachean Ethics, and examines their merits and demerits. Combining the most promising of them, it argues that in Aristotle's theory, rationality is a potential that is actualized by the acquisition of the virtues. By providing correct evaluative perceptions, the moral virtues bring the soul into a transformed condition in which appetites and passions are caused by rational considerations.
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