The Metaphysical Origin of the Two-Fold Conception of Human Selfhood in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
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This thesis aims to unearth the root of the apparent contradiction in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics between the endorsement of the life devoted to, on the one hand, the practical good, and, on the other hand, the theoretical good. This will be accomplished through a detailed study of the theoretical thinking from which Aristotle’s conception of human ethics originates in the first place. In doing so, it finds that Aristotle’s development of an autonomous realm of human activity is motivated not, as is commonly held, by a common-sense rejection of the lofty idealism of his predecessors (indeed, such common-sense presupposes the existence of that realm); but rather, by a theoretical insight into how the divine aspirations of his predecessors may be more perfectly fulfilled. In Nicomachean Ethics there is a tension, as well as a balance, between mortal contingency and philosophical transcendence more systematic and deliberate than previously understood.