Aristotle on the Uses of Contemplation

Aristotle on the Uses of Contemplation

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Matthew D. Walker
Cambridge University Press, 5/31/2018
EAN 9781108421102, ISBN10: 1108421105

Hardcover, 270 pages, 23.5 x 15.6 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

Traditionally, Aristotle is held to believe that philosophical contemplation is valuable for its own sake, but ultimately useless. In this volume, Matthew D. Walker offers a fresh, systematic account of Aristotle's views on contemplation's place in the human good. The book situates Aristotle's views against the background of his wider philosophy, and examines the complete range of available textual evidence (including neglected passages from Aristotle's Protrepticus). On this basis, Walker argues that contemplation also benefits humans as perishable living organisms by actively guiding human life activity, including human self-maintenance. Aristotle's views on contemplation's place in the human good thus cohere with his broader thinking about how living organisms live well. A novel exploration of Aristotle's views on theory and practice, this volume will interest scholars and students of both ancient Greek ethics and natural philosophy. It will also appeal to those working in other disciplines including classics, ethics, and political theory.

1. How can useless contemplation be central to the human good?
2. Useless contemplation as an ultimate end
3. The threptic basis of living
4. Authoritative functions, ultimate ends, and the good for living organisms
5. The utility question restated – and how not to address it
6. The first wave
reason, desire, and threptic guidance in the harmonized soul
7. The second wave
complete virtue and the utility of contemplation
8. The third wave
from contemplating the divine to understanding the human good
9. The anatomy of Aristotelian virtue
10. Some concluding reflections.