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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 1, Fall 2010

Vijay Mascarenhas
Pages 35-59

God and the Good in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

By examining the systematic integration of theology, ethics, and teleology in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, I address four key interpretational aporiai: the apparently illogicality of the opening lines, the apparent contradiction between practical virtue and contemplation being the highest good, the “dominant” v. “inclusivist” views of eudaimonia, and the immanence v. transcendence of God. I show how proper attention to the link between Aristotle’s conception of the Good as “that at which all things aim” and God as the prime unmoved mover, as well as an appreciation of the overall “aristocratic” context of Aristotelian philosophy, provides a new way of dealing with these aporiai that renders them less perplexing and problematic, while avoiding un-Aristotelian, anachronistic readings.

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