CPAS Lecture: Richard Kraut, Northwestern University

August 27, 2021 - 3:30pm

Presented by the Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science Program:

Richard Kraut Charles and Emma Morris Professor in the Humanities
Northwestern University

“How I Am an Aristotelian”


In this paper, I make several proposals about which aspects of Aristotle’s moral philosophy should be retained (perhaps with some modifications), and which rejected. I also ask whether the good-dominated Aristotelian framework should be replaced with a dualism of fundamental concepts – the right and the good. Aristotle’s heavy reliance on the kalon (fine, noble, beautiful) is of questionable value to us, but it is misleading to say that he has no concept of morality. Our term “flourishing” captures what is most appealing in Aristotle’s framework. Similarly, we should retain the distinction he implicitly makes between higherand lower-order goods – the former having incommensurably greater value than the latter. Our word “moral” has no close equivalent in Aristotle’s vocabulary, but he uses other terms to capture many elements of morality.


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