Aristotle on the Apparent Good

Aristotle on the Apparent Good : Perception, Phantasia, Thought, and Desire

3.88 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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Aristotle holds that we desire things because they appear good to us-a view still dominant in philosophy now. But what is it for something to appear good? Why does pleasure in particular tend to appear good, as Aristotle holds? And how do appearances of goodness motivate desire and action? No sustained study of Aristotle has addressed these questions, or even recognized them as worth asking. Jessica Moss argues that the notion of the apparent good is crucial to
understanding both Aristotle's psychological theory and his ethics, and the relation between them.
Beginning from the parallels Aristotle draws between appearances of things as good and ordinary perceptual appearances such as those involved in optical illusion, Moss argues that on Aristotle's view things appear good to us, just as things appear round or small, in virtue of a psychological capacity responsible for quasi-perceptual phenomena like dreams and visualization: phantasia ('imagination'). Once we realize that the appearances of goodness which play so major a role in
Aristotle's ethics are literal quasi-perceptual appearances, Moss suggests we can use his detailed accounts of phantasia and its relation to perception and thought to gain new insight into some of the most debated areas of Aristotle's philosophy: his accounts of emotions, akrasia, ethical habituation, character,
deliberation, and desire. In Aristotle on the Apparent Good, Moss presents a new-and controversial-interpretation of Aristotle's moral psychology: one which greatly restricts the role of reason in ethical matters, and gives an absolutely central role to pleasure.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 157 x 235 x 15mm | 396g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0198707940
  • 9780198707943
  • 1,139,232

Table of contents

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Review quote

"[an] excellent book" * Stephen Makin, Times Literary Supplement *
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About Jessica Moss

Jessica Moss studied for her PhD in philosophy at Princeton University and taught at the University of Pittsburgh, before coming to Oxford as a tutorial fellow in Ancient Philosophy at Balliol College. She specializes in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, with a particular focus on the relation between their ethical and psychological views. Her articles have appeared in publications such as Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Phronesis, and The Cambridge
Companion to Plato's Republic.
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Rating details

17 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 35% (6)
4 41% (7)
3 12% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 12% (2)
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