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The Structure Of The Soul, Intellectual Virtues, And The Ethical Ideal Of Masters Of Arts In Early Commentaries On The Nicomachean Ethics

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Chapter Summary

The early commentaries on Aristotle?s Nicomachean Ethics show the product of meticulous discussions held at the Faculty of Arts in the University of Paris between 1230 and 1250. This chapter focuses on Masters of Arts? analysis of Aristotle?s classification of the virtues. Most early thirteenth-century commentaries share an ethical ideal that recalls the ?Aristotelian ideal of contemplation?exposed in the tenth book of the Ethics. Among Masters of Arts, intellectual virtues are considered to be a means of access to knowledge or contemplation of separated superior things, such as the highest good. Commentators on the Ethica nova and vetus, and other Masters of Arts from 1230 to 1250, justify the Aristotelian division between intellectual and customary virtues through a psychological framework provided by the two-faced soul theory. This doctrine was founded by Plotinus as metaphysical, then adapted by Avicenna to a psychological context.

Keywords: Aristotelian ideal; Avicenna; intellectual virtue; Latin commentary; Nicomachean Ethics; Plotinus; thirteenth-century Paris; two-faced soul theory



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