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The Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant$
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Joachim Aufderheide and Ralf M. Bader

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714019.001.0001

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The Summum Bonum in Aristotle’s Ethics

The Summum Bonum in Aristotle’s Ethics

Fractured Goodness

(p.83) 4 The Summum Bonum in Aristotle’s Ethics
The Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant

Christopher Shields

Oxford University Press

Aristotle expressly defends eudaimonia as the summum bonum for human beings (EN 1094a21–2), which good he characterizes as a complete, final, and intrinsic good, and as the source and cause of the goodness of all good things subordinate to it (EN 1094a1–21, 1097a26–33, 1097b6–16, 1102a4). Still, in another breath, he roundly criticizes Plato for holding a very similar view. How does Aristotle differentiate his summum bonum from the good which is the object of his criticisms in EN I.6 and EE I.8? Further, if his criticisms succeed, will Aristotle’s own conception of goodness fracture to the point where judgements of commensurability become impracticable? This chapter argues that they have this result when coupled with Aristotle’s independently motivated conception of the relation between homonymy and commensurability. In this sense, Aristotle’s anti-Platonic arguments, if successful, are not cost-free to him.

Keywords:   value, commensurability, comparability, anti-Platonism, Form of the Good, univocity, homonymy

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