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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Volume (Issue) 0(0)
Page(s) 1 - 20
Title of proceedings Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
DOI 10.1515/agph-2019-0088


Abstract This article offers a new interpretation of Aristotle’s ambiguous and much-discussed claim that pleasure perfects activity ( NE x.4). This interpretation provides an alternative to the two main competing readings of this claim in the scholarship: the addition-view, which envisages the perfection conferred by pleasure as an extra perfection beyond the perfection of activity itself; and the identity-view, according to which pleasure just is the perfect activity itself. The proposed interpretation departs from both these views in rejecting their assumption that pleasure cannot perfect the activity itself, and argues that pleasure makes activity perfect by optimising the exercise of one’s capacities for that activity. Those who build or play music with pleasure do so better than those who do not delight in these activities. The basis of this interpretation is Aristotle’s little-read remarks from the following chapter, i. e. NE x.5, about how pleasure “increases” the activity.