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Aristotle on Practical Truth$
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Christiana Olfert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190281007

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190281007.001.0001

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Rational Action and Fitting Oneself to the World

Rational Action and Fitting Oneself to the World

(p.130) Chapter 4 Rational Action and Fitting Oneself to the World
Aristotle on Practical Truth

C. M. M. Olfert

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 4, I argue that a proper understanding of practical truth improves our understanding of the goal of practical reasoning: acting well. It does so, first, by improving our understanding of what it means for rational motives, including wishes (boulêseis) and decisions (prohaireseis), to be “rational.” I argue that these are “rational” motives in that they express a concern for practical truth. Second, my account of practical truth transforms our understanding of rational action itself. I argue that when we act on our rational motives, these actions have a striking and under-appreciated feature: they are attempts to fit ourselves to the world. Just as a concern for truth expressed in thought involves trying to fit our thoughts to the way the world is, a concern for truth expressed in motivation and action involves trying to fit ourselves and our actions to what is good in the world.

Keywords:   Aristotle, action, motivation, desire, wish, decision, prohairesis, boulêsis, truth, practical truth

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