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AbstractFor several decades now, and for a number of different reasons, there has been a significant reawakening of interest in Aristotle's practical philosophy. In particular it is widely held that his philosophy can work as a model for safeguarding the fundamental ethical demands without having to deny the natural essence of the human being and without having to resort to a metaphysical basis. This article sets out to question this theoretical approach. It considers in particular two main problems: the responsability of the individual and the role of the knowledge of good in ethics. The comparison between two recent publications (Susan Sauvé Meyer, Aristotle on Moral Responsability. Character and Cause, Oxford UK - Cambridge USA 1993; AAVV, Aristotle, Kant and the Stoic. Rethinking Happiness and Duty, ed. by S. Engstrom and J. Whiting, Cambridge 1996), is directed towards demonstrating that Aristotle's ethical thought does not meet demands nowadays considered essential. As for responsability, Aristotle succeeds in justifying responsability for actions but not responsability for character: the results are hardly acceptable (in contrast to what S.Sauvé Meyer holds). With regard to the knowledge of good, it is broadly estabilished that, in his ethics, Aristotle does not consider it to be a central theme (as in Kant's). The question is whether the lack of this particular feature is really, as many maintain, a positive characteristic. This paper aims to demonstrate that it is not the case, or at least it is not when evaluating ethical theories from a general current perspective, because nowadays the fundamental ethical problem seems indeed to be the identification of an intersubjective consent on the notions of good and evil. If, in our search for an effective model for modern reflection, we wish to turn our attention to ancient philosophy, then the Socratic/Platonic approach seems to be much more promising than that of Aristotle.
Franco Trabattoni, "Sull'"attualità" dell'etica di Aristotele. Alcuni problemi", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, II (2000) 2