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Pleasure and desire in Aristotle

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Juliana Ortegosa Aggio
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marco Antonio de Avila Zingano; Ricardo Salles Afonso de Almeida; Roberto Bolzani Filho; Fernando Decio Porto Muniz; Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos
Advisor: Marco Antonio de Avila Zingano

This thesis aims to investigate the problem of the constitution of the end of action, object of our desire. As its correct apprehension depends on the acquisition of moral virtue, we must, therefore, not only verify the possibility of virtue to be acquired, but also how such a possibility is realized through the moral education of desire. In the first place, we must understand what it means to educate desire. Indeed, if educating the desire means getting used having pleasure with the things we ought to, then we must first examine in what sense the Aristotelian conception of pleasure allows the desire to be educated. Secondly, we will investigate why such education is necessary for the Aristotelian project of moral virtue acquisition, because, if it is not necessary, the desire would have to be naturally good or it should be submitted unconditionally to reason. However, as opposed to the intellectualistic and naturalistic positions, the Aristotelian ethics does not presuppose that reason has enough autonomy to determinate the end of action according to the knowledge of the good and the bad, nor that the end is given by an innate nature good or bad, but it presupposes that only reason is able to grasp what is truly good. Thus, in order to determine in which sense, according to Aristotle, reason and desire constitute the end, we will examine how it can be constituted by both a reason capable of grasping it truly and by a desire that can take it as its object, since the desire has already been used having pleasure with what it should have. As we can see, moral education seems to be a necessary precondition by which reason and desire can be in harmony and reason can actually be partly a cause of the constitution of the end of action. (AU)