Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence (Part Two)

Sep 26, 2016, 12:00 PM

Continuing on the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7.

We're still talking about the various intellectual virtues for the first half here, including the ever-popular nous, translated sometimes as "rational intuition" (which you might call we discussed from a very different perspective in our episodes on Aristotle's De Anima.

We finally then get to akrasia, i.e., weakness of the will or incontinence. I know I shouldn't eat the cake (or murder all those people), but darn it, I just can't help myself! Aristotle contrasts such a weak person (who at least seems to have correct moral beliefs, though he apparently is still confused in some way or he would do what he thinks he should) with a simply intemperate/self-indulgent/vicious person who actually has wrong beliefs about what's right to do. That kind of person can't just be habituated out of his bad habit, but has to be convinced. Aristotle is not optimistic about such convincing, given the person's obvious lack of the morally relevant intellectual faculties he's just told us about. #philosophy #aristotle #ethics #reason #will #phronesis #wisdom

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