As mentioned in our daily recap on the Markets and Geopolitics, a great philosophical evening event took place last night at the Friends Room of London’s Hellenic Centre. Professor Anthony Price from Birkbeck College delivered the much awaited speech about “Aristotle on Rationality in Action”. Anna Menis was there to remind us also that Aristotle amongst other “capabilities”, can rescue us from the trammels of a dualism of mind and body:
Is Aristotle’s Ethical agent an egoist?
Agatha Kalisperas, the Hellenic Centre’s director, warmly welcomed all the “curious” attendees of this special subject with a “warm” drinks and dips reception at the Hellenic Centre’s Bar, before moving next door to the specially arranged for the occasion Friends Room:
Prof. Price discussed about the two ways of looking at Action and the Action itself in its wider context, to the extent of a complete life, related to “Eudaimonia and happiness”. He explained how the general happiness could be in accordance to the individual Eudaimonia according to Aristotle’s theory and the noble action regarding as well as the concern for others. He finally talked about the personal and civic Eudaimonia. On that note, we pose the conclusion of his speech… ”So what are the implications for answering my question?”
‘Is Aristotle’s ethical agent an egoist?’ ” Egoism can take different forms. Yet surely one aspect of egoism is that one is selfish, for example in sacrificing the greater interests of others to one’s own lesser interests. Nothing that I have said suggests that Aristotle permits, let alone prescribes, that. He does embrace a form of self-regard: as an agent I am especially concerned that I act well. But that would seem to be his way of capturing a special sense of personal responsibility for one’s own actions (and their consequences). Actually, he also envisages another form of self-regard that is more questionable: his ideal agent, the great-souled man, is conscious, and proud of his own exceptional virtue. One needn’t be committed to the Christian virtue of humility to find that hard to take. However, I have been very concerned with the very structure of Aristotle’s account of human action. And that, I have tried to argue, is not easily convicted of anything that merits the label “egoism”, he said.
After this philosophical presentation, the main point is that some of Aristotle’s theories would be useful to keep in mind for the commonwealth of societies in these harsh times we live in. A very enlightening discussion followed and we asked Professor Price his view on Aristotle’s constructive criticism – a subject we look forward discussing and presenting to our readers in great detail soon, given its importance in today’s politics and business!