Analysis and comparison of four interpretations of the Nicomachean Ethics

Document Type : Original Article



The purpose of this paper is to examine four different approaches to the interpretation of the Nicomachean Ethics, focusing on the habituation, and finding the answer to the question of why and how the repetition of practices attributed to a virtue can gradually create that virtue in human beings. First, according to the division of the soul into the spirited (the will), the appetitive, and the rational parts, attributed to Plato, it is claimed that the interpretations of the Nicomachean Ethics have focused on each of these parts. So, we could also categorize them into three groups. Since the Nicomachean Ethics is the most important source of Muslim philosophers in philosophical ethics, Akhlagh-e-Nasseri is intended as a reading of the Nicomachean Ethics and it is shown how and why Khajeh Nasir Tusi prefers the will part. Then in the appetitive reading, it is highlighted Burnyeat's interpretation, and in the rational reading Sorabji's interpretation. Then, by the internal and external critiques of these three interpretive approaches, and by using the interpretation of Nancy Sherman, we ultimately attempt to present a coherent and comprehensive interpretation of habituation in the Nicomachean Ethics that is safe to the critiques of previous interpretations. In this accepted interpretation, there is a strong link between emotion and cognition in order to interpret the habituation as a critical practice.


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