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Commentary On Russell

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Chapter Summary

Dan Russell argues that neither the Stoic nor the Aristotelian position in the "sufficiency debate" is acceptable. The sufficiency debate is the dispute over whether virtue is sufficient for eudaimonia. But the Aristotelian position fails, says Russell, because it attempts to combine contradictory views about agency and eudaimonia. He claims that Aristotelians try to maintain both a "directive conception" of goodness and an "additive conception" of goodness. The Stoic position fails, Russell concedes, because its purely formalized conception of agency fails to acknowledge that happiness is vulnerable to reversals of fortune. The author argues that Russell's alternative changes the terms of the debate and so fail to resolve it. The author also argues that a proper interpretation of Aristotle reveals that his position is consistent in accepting a directive conception of goodness, rejecting an unqualified additive conception of goodness, but acknowledging that virtuous activity is not sufficient for happiness.

Keywords: Aristotle; Dan Russell; eudaimonia; Stoics



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