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|Title:||Moral Ignorance and Blameworthiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics|
|Keywords:||Philosophy;Ancient Philosophy;Ethics;Moral Psychology;Aristotle|
|Abstract:||In this thesis, I identify and engage an orthodox view in Aristotelian scholarship. Many scholars maintain that Aristotle, in the third book of his Nicomachean Ethics, claims that we should always blame people who act badly with ignorance of what is moral. This view, which I label the “common view” is widespread and unquestioned in the literature. I disagree with the orthodox view, and maintain that we can read Aristotle as not always holding people who act badly in ignorance of what is moral as blameworthy. There are three essential steps in my argument. First, I show that it is not certain that Aristotle commits himself to the common view in the passages usually cited as evidence for the view. I review the evidence in favor of the common view, and argue that other interpretations of Aristotle are equally compatible with his text. Second, I argue that there is textual evidence elsewhere in the Nicomachean Ethics which is contrary to the common view. Thirdly and finally, I suggest that an alternate reading – on which Aristotle allows for pardon in some cases where people act badly in ignorance of what is moral – chimes well with other portions of his ethics, and with scholarly literature: I take two such cases, moral education and ethical deliberation. Given the evidence against the common view, and the evidence in favor of an alternate reading, I suggest that the orthodox view should be abandoned by scholars.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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