Practical and Productive Thinking in Aristotle

In: Phronesis
Author: Jozef Müller1
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  • 1 Department of Philosophy, University of CaliforniaRiverside, hmnss Building, Room 1604, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, ca 92521USA
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I argue that, on Aristotle’s account, practical thinking (unlike productive thinking) has as its origin a desire whose object is the very thing that one reasons about how to promote. This means: (a) there is only a contingent relationship between the desire that one practically reasons about how to satisfy and the action one decides on; (b) practical thinking and action (unlike productive thinking and production) cannot be separated from the agent. I also show how my account of practical thinking can shed new light on Aristotle’s claim that the virtuous agent must decide on her virtuous actions ‘for themselves’.

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