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Aristotle on Enkratic Ignorance

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Project Carving up moral motivation in ancient Chinese and Greek thought
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of the History of Philosophy
Volume (Issue) 58(4)
Page(s) 655 - 678
Title of proceedings Journal of the History of Philosophy

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


A question widely discussed in the scholarship is why Aristotle thinks that a lack of character-virtue entails the absence of practical wisdom. I argue that attempts thus far to answer this question have been unsuccessful, and offer a new suggestion: falling short in character virtue entails an insuf cient grasp of the “starting-points” (ἀρχαί) of practical reasoning, which is a distinctly rational failing that necessarily de- prives one of practical wisdom. This insuf ciency constitutes a aw in knowledge and rational motivation, and can be attributed not only to vicious and un-self-controlled persons, but also to those who possess self-control.