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Aristotle On Well-Being And Intellectual Contemplation: David Charles

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Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oriel College, Oxford

Publication date: June 1, 1999

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