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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 87, 2013

Aristotle Now and Then

Mathew Lu
Pages 285-293
DOI: 10.5840/acpaproc201441412

Getting Serious about Seriousness
On the Meaning of Spoudaios in Aristotle’s Ethics

In the following paper I discuss the under-appreciated role that the concept of the morally serious (spoudaios) person plays in Aristotle’s moral philosophy. I argue that the conventional English rendering of spoudaios as “good” has a tendency to cut us off from important nuances in Aristotle’s consideration of the virtuous person. After discussing aspects of his use of the concept in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics I dismiss a misunderstanding of seriousness as a kind of morally indifferent personality trait. I close by briefly reflecting on how an absence of moral seriousness characterizes much contemporary moral theorizing and produces what Anscombe described as the “corrupt mind.”