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Peels and R. Open access. Richards Cambridge University Press, Winner of Res Philosophica Essay Prize. Open Access. Bergmann and P. Kain eds. Bagnoli, ed. William A. Darity , Jr. Arras McGraw Hill, Review of Michael Byron, ed. Further, your reasons belong to you, and you know the reasons for which you act in a distinctively first-personal way. The book lays out and critically reviews some of the most popular contemporary accounts of how reasons can function in all these ways, accounts such as psychologism, factualism, hybrid theories, constitutivist theories, and finally Anscombean views of reasons.

Reasons also includes a brief guide to further reading to help readers master this important topic in contemporary writing in ethics and the philosophy of action. Convert currency. Add to Basket.

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Condition: New. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Continuum , London, Soft cover. Language: English. Brand new Book. This title introduces and explores historical and contemporary accounts of reasons in ethical action. When we say we act 'for a reason', what do we mean? Introducing readers to a foundational topic in ethics, this book introduces and explores the answers that have been given to some of these fundamental philosophical questions.

Eric Wiland here considers the ethical reasoning that lies behind our actions. The book lays out and critically reviews some of the most popular answers given in the history of philosophy, from perspectives ranging from psychologism through value theory to primitivism. From here, Wiland goes on to consider contemporary constitutivist theories of reasons and explores how this approach can shed new light on the nature of irrational action and vice.

Reasons also includes chapter summaries and guides to further reading to help readers mastery this important question in contemporary writing in ethics and the philosophy of action. Seller Inventory AA Book Description Continuum Publishing Corporation, New Book. Shipped from UK. Established seller since Seller Inventory FV Aristotle dealt with this same question but giving it two names, "the political" or Politics and "the ethical" Ethics , both with Politics being the name for the two together as the more important part.


The original Socratic questioning on ethics started at least partly as a response to sophism , which was a popular style of education and speech at the time. Sophism emphasized rhetoric , and argument, and therefore often involved criticism of traditional Greek religion and flirtation with moral relativism. It is sometimes referred to in comparison to later ethical theories as a "character based ethics".

Like Plato and Socrates he emphasized the importance of reason for human happiness, and that there were logical and natural reasons for humans to behave virtuously, and try to become virtuous. Aristotle's treatment of the subject is distinct in several ways from that found in Plato's Socratic dialogues.

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Aristotle believed that ethical knowledge is not only a theoretical knowledge, but rather that a person must have "experience of the actions in life" and have been "brought up in fine habits" to become good NE a3 and b5. For a person to become virtuous, he can't simply study what virtue is , but must actually do virtuous things. The Aristotelian Ethics all aim to begin with approximate but uncontroversial starting points.

In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle says explicitly that one must begin with what is familiar to us, and "the that" or "the fact that" NE I.

The Ethical Continuum

Ancient commentators agree that what Aristotle means here is that his treatise must rely upon practical, everyday knowledge of virtuous actions as the starting points of his inquiry, and that he is supposing that his readers have some kind of experience-based understanding of such actions, and that they value noble and just actions to at least some degree.

Elsewhere, Aristotle also seems to rely upon common conceptions of how the world works. In fact, some regard his ethical inquiries as using a method that relies upon popular opinion his so-called "endoxic method" from the Grk. There is some dispute, however, about exactly how such common conceptions fit into Aristotle's method in his ethical treatises, [12] particularly since he also makes use of more formal arguments, especially the so-called "function argument," which is described below.

Aristotle describes popular accounts about what kind of life would be a happy one by classifying them into three most common types: a life dedicated to vulgar pleasure; a life dedicated to fame and honor; and a life dedicated to contemplation NE I. To reach his own conclusion about the best life, however, Aristotle tries to isolate the function of humans. The argument he develops here is accordingly widely known as "the function argument," and is among the most-discussed arguments made by any ancient philosopher. Thus neither of these characteristics is particular to humans.

Reasons (Continuum Ethics) - AbeBooks - Eric Wiland: X

According to Aristotle, what remains and what is distinctively human is reason. Thus he concludes that the human function is some kind of excellent exercise of the intellect. And, since Aristotle thinks that practical wisdom rules over the character excellences, exercising such excellences is one way to exercise reason and thus fulfill the human function. One common objection to Aristotle's function argument is that it uses descriptive or factual premises to derive conclusions about what is good.

Moral virtue, or excellence of character, is the disposition Grk hexis to act excellently, which a person develops partly as a result of his upbringing, and partly as a result of his habit of action. Aristotle develops his analysis of character in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics , where he makes this argument that character arises from habit—likening ethical character to a skill that is acquired through practice, such as learning a musical instrument.

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In Book III of the Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle argues that a person's character is voluntary, since it results from many individual actions which are under his voluntary control. Aristotle distinguishes the disposition to feel emotions of a certain kind from virtue and vice. But such emotional dispositions may also lie at a mean between two extremes, and these are also to some extent a result of up-bringing and habituation.

Two examples of such dispositions would be modesty, or a tendency to feel shame, which Aristotle discusses in NE IV. Some people, despite intending to do the right thing, cannot act according to their own choice. For example, someone may choose to refrain from eating chocolate cake, but finds himself eating the cake contrary to his own choice. Such a failure to act in a way that is consistent with one's own decision is called " akrasia ", and may be translated as weakness of will, incontinence, or lack of self-mastery.

Vices of courage must also be identified which are cowardice and recklessness. Soldiers who are not prudent act with cowardice, and soldiers who do not have temperance act with recklessness. One should not be unjust toward their enemy no matter the circumstance. On another note, one becomes virtuous by first imitating another who exemplifies such virtuous characteristics, practicing such ways in their daily lives, turning those ways into customs and habits by performing them each and every day, and finally, connecting or uniting the four of them together.

Only soldiers can exemplify such virtues because war demands soldiers to exercise disciplined and firm virtues, but war does everything in its power to shatter the virtues it demands. Since virtues are very fragile, they must be practiced always, for if they are not practiced they will weaken and eventually disappear. One who is virtuous has to avoid the enemies of virtue which are indifference or persuasion that something should not be done, self-indulgence or persuasion that something can wait and does not need to be done at that moment, and despair or persuasion that something simply cannot be accomplished anyway.

In order for one to be virtuous they must display prudence, temperance, courage, and justice; moreover, they have to display all four of them and not just one or two to be virtuous.

Ethical Vs. Unethical Influence (INFLUENCE CONTINUUM)

In this discussion, Aristotle defines justice as having two different but related senses—general justice and particular justice. General justice is virtue expressed in relation to other people. Thus the just man in this sense deals properly and fairly with others, and expresses his virtue in his dealings with them—not lying or cheating or taking from others what is owed to them. Particular justice is the correct distribution of just deserts to others. For Aristotle, such justice is proportional—it has to do with people receiving what is proportional to their merit or their worth.

In his discussion of particular justice, Aristotle says an educated judge is needed to apply just decisions regarding any particular case. This is where we get the image of the scales of justice, the blindfolded judge symbolizing blind justice, balancing the scales, weighing all the evidence and deliberating each particular case individually. In his ethical works, Aristotle describes eudaimonia as the highest human good.

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In Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics he goes on to identify eudaimonia as the excellent exercise of the intellect, leaving it open [ citation needed ] whether he means practical activity or intellectual activity. With respect to practical activity, in order to exercise any one of the practical excellences in the highest way, a person must possess all the others.

Aristotle therefore describes several apparently different kinds of virtuous person as necessarily having all the moral virtues, excellences of character. Aristotle also says, for example in NE Book VI, that such a complete virtue requires intellectual virtue, not only practical virtue, but also theoretical wisdom. Such a virtuous person, if they can come into being, will choose the most pleasant and happy life of all, which is the philosophical life of contemplation and speculation.

Aristotle claims that a human's highest functioning must include reasoning, being good at what sets humans apart from everything else. Or, as Aristotle explains it, "The function of man is activity of soul in accordance with reason, or at least not without reason. A person that does this is the happiest because they are fulfilling their purpose or nature as found in the rational soul. Aristotle's work however continued to be taught as a part of secular education. Aristotle's teachings spread through the Mediterranean and the Middle East, where some early Islamic regimes allowed rational philosophical descriptions of the natural world.

Alfarabi was a major influence in all medieval philosophy and wrote many works which included attempts to reconcile the ethical and political writings of Plato and Aristotle. Later Avicenna , and later still Averroes , were Islamic philosophers who commented on Aristotle as well as writing their own philosophy in Arabic.

Averroes, a European Muslim, was particularly influential in turn upon European Christian philosophers, theologians and political thinkers. In the twelfth century, Latin translations of Aristotle's works were made, enabling the Dominican priest Albert the Great and his pupil Thomas Aquinas to synthesize Aristotle's philosophy with Christian theology.

Later the medieval church scholasticism in Western Europe insisted on Thomist views and suppressed non-Aristotelian metaphysics. Aquinas' writings are full of references to Aristotle, and he wrote a commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.