SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Seeing Moral Action Through Theoria in Aristotle's Account of Happiness: The Philosophical Review and Classical Philology
(History of Philosophy, English)

There is a famous problem that Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics (NE), presents two conceptions of the good life that seem incompatible; one is the life of intellectual contemplation, focused on theoria, and another is the life of practical activity, focused on practical wisdom (phronesis). The broadest interpretative question here is whether Aristotle is inconsistent in giving two accounts of happiness given that a certain set of conceptual criteria of happiness he develops in the first book of NE cannot be applied to both forms of happiness. In this paper I do not aim to solve this intractable problem but I propose a new reading regarding the concept of theoria with regard to the two conceptions of the good life. My proposal is that theoria functions different within intellectual and practical pursuits, in a way that might promise a resolution of the seeming tension between the life of intellectual contemplation and practical activity.

My main argument centres around the claim that the process of theoria in the intellectual and morally virtuous activity differs in kind. Drawing on the etymological meaning of theoria and some passages in NE, e.g., 1139a6-9, 1140a24-27, and 1140b6-8 the conception of theoria will be defined as a deliberative process by which an agent theorises not only necessary and eternal facts but also contingent state of affairs. Based on the elements and stages of practical syllogism, the process of morally virtuous activity will be identified as an activity that is primarily (but not exclusively) based on the activation of the first principles (arche) of the particular moral action with regard to the correct reason (orthos logos). This conclusion will be reinforced by Irwin's interpretation of practical reason (phronesis) and Roochnik's exposition of the concept of theoria with regard to morally virtuous activity.

Chair: Gregor Greslehner
Time: 11:20-11:50, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005

Janset Özün Çetinkaya  
(University of Nottingham, United Kingdom)

I am a first year PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. I completed my BA in Philosophy at Pamukkale University. I wrote a thesis called "Understanding Space-Time: Newton vs Einstein". I earned my MA in Philosophy at Dokuz Eylul University with a thesis, "Science and Utopia in Francis Bacon". After having decided to work on ancient ethical theories, mainly Aristotle's ethics, I enrolled in another master's degree programme. In 2017, I received my MLitt degree at the University of St Andrews with a thesis, "Aristotle's Account of Happiness and Luck". In April 2018, I joined the PhD programme at the University in Nottingham. My PhD research project is on Aristotle's view of happiness. My aim is to develop a new reading of Aristotle's conception of happiness. In doing so, I'm hoping to bring a new perspective to the discussion between exclusive and inclusive interpretation of happiness. Apart from doing philosophy, I give ballet classes to kids with the aim of contributing to their physical strength and wellbeing.

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