published on August 14, 2014
Good and Bad in Human Action
According to Aristotle, every action is aimed at some good. Neo-Aristotelians argue that all intentional actions are pursued “under the guise of the good.” Contemporary critics find this thesis either perplexing or obviously false. In this essay, I survey a recent attempt to defend the guise of the good thesis, urge that the critic will reject the defense, and sketch a novel direction for defense of the thesis based on the thought that practical reason’s orientation to the future is fundamentally different from a modern predictive stance. Practical reason is directed to what is supposed to happen next, whether or not things go as they are supposed to go.