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Wealth, honour and traditional morality in Aristotle

Mantzouranis, Kleanthis; (2012) Wealth, honour and traditional morality in Aristotle. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Aristotle’s indebtedness to τὰ ἔνδοξα, the views of ‘the wise’ and ordinary beliefs, is a consensus among Aristotle scholars. However, the endoxic material in Aristotle’s ethical treatises has been significantly understudied, since culturally loaded ideas in his work are usually dismissed as ‘prejudices’. This creates a lacuna in our knowledge of the reputable views that form the starting point of Aristotle’s argumentation. Existing scholarship has not systematically addressed the questions regarding the nature and the sources of the endoxic material in Aristotle’s work, and the extent to which τὰ ἔνδοξα influenced Aristotle’s ethical discussions. As a result, we fail to appreciate the way in which Aristotle constructed his philosophical system by reworking the raw material of his culture. This thesis aims to fill this gap in Aristotelian scholarship with respect to the concepts of wealth and honour, which figure prominently among Aristotle’s ‘external goods’. It explores the work of Aristotle from a diachronic perspective, aiming to situate it in its historical context and to examine Aristotle’s views as part of a long-standing debate in Greek ethical thinking. The aim of this study is to investigate how and to what extent traditional views about wealth and honour contributed to the formulation of Aristotle’s discussion, and to ascertain how the philosopher responded to these ideas and reformulated them to fit his own philosophical framework. Chapter 1 provides the general framework for the discussion of wealth and honour in the main body of the thesis (Chapters 2-5), namely the place of external goods in Aristotle’s conception of εὐδαιμονία. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the concept of wealth, the modes and extent of its acquisition and the virtues of character that regulate its proper use; Aristotle’s views are examined in the light of relevant views expressed in the works of archaic poets, most notably Solon, Theognis, Pindar, Hesiod, and the Homeric epics. Chapters 4 and 5 address the concept of honour and the virtue of ‘greatness of soul’, which is one of the most controversial of Aristotle’s virtues of character.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Wealth, honour and traditional morality in Aristotle
Language: English
Keywords: Aristotle, Wealth, Honour
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1361507
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