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Aristotle And The Starting Point Of Moral Development: The Notion Of Natural Virtue

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the notion of natural virtue in Aristotle, seeking in particular answers to the following three generically distinct questions: (i) What form precisely does the relationship between natural virtue and virtue in its fullest sense take? And, more particularly, what role does it play in the Aristotelian theory of the unity of the virtues and their mutual involvement? (ii) What does ?natural? mean? (iii) How far should natural virtue be seen as a determining factor in the development of the moral individual? In other words: Are Aristotelian ethics determinist?. Natural virtue is not virtue in the fullest sense. If that were the case, Aristotelian ethics would be a form of ethical naturalism. The chapter also examines the occurrences of ?natural virtue? in the Ethics, with a view to outlining its principal characteristics and the connections which hold good between it and virtue in the strict sense.

Keywords: Aristotelian ethics; ethical naturalism; natural virtue



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