Aristotle's Dialogue With Socrates: On the Nicomachean Ethics

Paperback | August 15, 2009

byRonna Burger

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What is the good life for a human being? Aristotle’s exploration of this question in the Nicomachean Ethics has established it as a founding work of Western philosophy, though its teachings have long puzzled readers and provoked spirited discussion. Adopting a radically new point of view, Ronna Burger deciphers some of the most perplexing conundrums of this influential treatise by approaching it as Aristotle’s dialogue with the Platonic Socrates.

Tracing the argument of the Ethics as it emerges through that approach, Burger’s careful reading shows how Aristotle represents ethical virtue from the perspective of those devoted to it while standing back to examine its assumptions and implications. 

“This is the best book I have read on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. It is so well crafted that reading it is like reading the Ethics itself, in that it provides an education in ethical matters that does justice to all sides of the issues.”—Mary P. Nichols, Baylor University

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What is the good life for a human being? Aristotle’s exploration of this question in the Nicomachean Ethics has established it as a founding work of Western philosophy, though its teachings have long puzzled readers and provoked spirited discussion. Adopting a radically new point of view, Ronna Burger deciphers some of the most perplex...

Ronna Burger is professor of philosophy at Tulane University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:August 15, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226080528

ISBN - 13:9780226080529

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction     The Socratic Question of the Ethics    
 
Part I    THE HUMAN GOOD
 
1 The Final End and the Way to It     
   From the Good to the Human Good     
   Opinions about Happiness     
   The Human Good and the Human Ergon
   Happiness in a Complete Life    
   The Nonrational Psyche    
 
Part II     THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE JUST
2 Excellence of Character    
   A Non-Socratic Account    
   Habituation    
   Ethical Virtue and the Measure of the Mean    
   Responsibility and Nature    
 
3 Virtues and Vices    
   The Beautiful as Telos of the Virtues    
   Justice in the City and Justice in the Soul   
 
Part III     RETURN TO THE GOOD
 
4 Excellence of Thought    
   The Pivot of the Argument of the Ethics    
   The Rational Psyche    
   Intellectual Virtues    
   Phronesis, Sophia, and the Claim to Happiness    
 
5 Pleasure and the Discovery of Nature    
   A New Beginning: From the Bestial to the Divine    
   The Faction of Passion and Reason    
   Pleasure by Nature and the Good    
 
6 Friendship and the Discovery of the Self    
   Rational and Political Nature    
   Perfect Friendship and Other Species    
   Justice in Friendship    
   The Friend as an Other Self    
   Friendship, Eros, and Philosophy    
 
7 Happiness    
   Pleasure Revisited    
   The Theoretical Life    
   The Legislative Art    
   A Socratic Answer to a Socratic Question?    
 
Appendix 1    Socrates, Plato, Philosophy    
 
Appendix 2    Virtues and Vices    
 
Appendix 3    Categories of Justice    
 
Appendix 4    Classifications of Pleasure    
 
Notes    
Bibliography    
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Burger has written a book brimming with stimulating puzzles and insights covering, almost in the style of a commentary, every part of the Ethics. . . . Her book’s ability to inspire and foster inquiry into the subject matter of the Ethics is quite possibly the most beneficial result her mode of interpretation yields.”