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Akrasia And Moral Education In Aristotle

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Chapter Summary

In view of the wealth of evidence for the weakness of practical reason in many human lives, the phenomenon of akrasia represents a profound problem for moral education that Aristotle addressed in his ethical, political and rhetorical writings. The author's modest intention is to use this problem as a starting- point for examining how Aristotle discussed the process of moral education in his ethical writings. This chapter traces the path of moral education by examining Aristotle?s distinctions between akrasia, enkrateia, and aretê proper. It elaborates on the suggestion that we can reconstruct Aristotle?s account of moral education in terms of different stages of character formation with reference to these different moral conditions. The chapter concludes that akrasia represents a common failure in moral education, which is particularly distressing in that it seems to highlight the impotence of reason when faced with strong passions.

Keywords: akrasia; Aristotle; ethical writings; moral education



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