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Dialectic and Definition: Problems of Method in Aristotelian Ethics

Grant number: 12/06639-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2012
Effective date (End): June 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal Investigator:Marco Antônio de Ávila Zingano
Grantee:Eduardo Wolf Pereira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:09/16877-3 - Greek classical philosophy: Plato, Aristotle and their influence in Antiquity, AP.TEM


This research aims at characterizing the method employed by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics by analyzing two opposing interpretations: one, the already traditional thesis that considers Aristotle's methodology in his practical philosophy as strictly dialectic; and another one, the alternative thesis, only recently explored, which points out the use, in the NE, of a philosophical procedure similar to Aristotle's prescriptions on the search for definitions in science as suggested in his Posterior Analytics. The core of the first thesis will be analyzed from two perspectives: (i) internally to the NE, looking for a comparison between the procedure described in NE VII.1 and the argumentative structure actually found in the other books of this work; (ii) externally, comparing the notion of dialectics as it appears in the Topics to its practice in the NE. The alternative thesis is also to be analyzed in a twofold manner: (i) trying to distinguish more clearly the notion of definition, by analyzing its loci classici, especially in the Topics and in the Posterior Analytics; (ii) examining difficulties of proposing a model centered in the search for definitions in contexts different from those for which this scheme was originally meant, as in the case of ethics. Finally, I propose an evaluation of the possible relation between both schemes. A positive result as to the application of the definitional inquiry's model in Aristotle's practical philosophy, apart from reevaluating the methodological role of dialectics in his ethics, would allow for a new approach to two classical problems in aristotelian studies: (a) the hiatus between the characterization of the sciences, on the one hand, and the aristotelian moral philosophy, on the other; and (b) the role of universal propositions, definitions, specifically, in the heart of an ethics held as strongly particularistic.

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(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
PEREIRA, Eduardo Wolf. Dialectics and definition: methodological problems in Aristotles ethics. 2017. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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