Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Aristotle on the Scope of Practical Reason: Spectators, Legislators, Hopes, and Evils

By Pavlos Kontos (NHC Fellow, 2017–18)

New York: Routledge, 2021

From the publisher’s description:

This book offers a new account of Aristotle’s practical philosophy. Pavlos Kontos argues that Aristotle does not restrict practical reason to its action-guiding and motivational role; rather, practical reason remains practical in the full sense of the term even when its exercise does not immediately concern the guidance of our present actions.

To elucidate why this wider scope of practical reason is important, Kontos brings into the foreground five protagonists that have long been overlooked: (a) spectators or judges who make non-motivational judgments about practical matters that do not interact with their present deliberations and actions; (b) legislators who exercise practical reason to establish constitutions and laws; (c) hopes as an active engagement with moral luck and its impact on our individual lives; (d) prayers as legislators’ way to deal with the moral luck hovering around the birth of constitutions and the prospect of a utopia; and (e) people who are outsiders or marginal cases of the responsibility community because they are totally deprived of practical reason. Building on a wide range of interpretations of Aristotle’s practical philosophy (from the ancient commentators to contemporary analytic and continental philosophers), Kontos offers new insights about Aristotle’s philosophical contribution to the current debates about radical evil, moral luck, hope, utopia, internalism and externalism, and the philosophy of law.

Aristotle on the Scope of Practical Reason will appeal to researchers and advanced students interested in Aristotle’s ethics, ancient philosophy, and the history of practical philosophy.

Philosophy / Classics / Ancient Philosophy / Ancient Greek Philosophy / Ethics / Epistemology / Practical Reason / Aristotle /

Kontos, Pavlos (NHC Fellow, 2017–18). Aristotle on the Scope of Practical Reason: Spectators, Legislators, Hopes, and Evils. New York: Routledge, 2021.