Book VI of Aristotle′s Nicomachean Ethics is commented on, aimed at showing its relevance to some themes in contemporary moral philosophy. It is argued that the classical approach to morality (Aristotle) and the Enlightened approach (Kant) need not compose antinomy. Instead, the Aristotelian emphases on the development of virtuous character and the nature of practical wisdom coalesce with the Kantian emphasis on autonomy – what Falk calls “responsible self‐direction” – in the person of the moral leader. In particular, great moralists have recognised that moral wisdom is not mainly a matter of strict obedience to rules. While rules have their place, the subject matter of ethics cannot be determined by a quasi‐mathematical formalism. Over‐emphasis on the formalism of the categorical imperative obscures Kant′s more fundamental emphasis on autonomy. The autonomous person, able to exercise moral leadership, cultivates the Aristotelian virtue of phronēsis.
CitationDownload as .RIS
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1989, MCB UP Limited