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Moral Psychology and Human Action in Aristotle$
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Michael Pakaluk and Giles Pearson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546541.001.0001

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Aristotle on Responsibility for One's Character 1

Aristotle on Responsibility for One's Character 1

(p.285) 11 Aristotle on Responsibility for One's Character1
Moral Psychology and Human Action in Aristotle

Pierre Destrée

Oxford University Press

Careful attention to chapter III 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics indicates that — contrary to the most influential line of interpretation following David Furley's work — Aristotle offers there a non-deterministic view of responsibility for one's character, which cannot be taken as the direct ancestor of the classical stoic view. In particular, the expression ‘up to us’ is best interpreted as implying a ‘could have done otherwise’ condition similar to that which plays a central role in recent, non-deterministic conceptions of responsibility. Deterministic interpretations of the various steps in Aristotle's discussion should be rejected as not ultimately satisfactory. Aristotle's view invites a reconsideration of the role and limits of his theory of character education.

Keywords:   responsibility, up to us, determinism, praise, blame, character education

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