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My aim in this paper is to examine the basis of the dominant scholarly understanding of Aristotle's conception of human eudaimonia. I call this interpretation intellectualist, because it attributes to Aristotle the view that human flourishing consists exclusively in pure intellectual activity of the best and highest kind. I show that the intellectualist thesis, with its grounds, is inadequate. I also show that in the Eudemian Ethics the rejection of this kind of intellectualism is explicit, adopting instead a much more inclusive view of what it is for a man to flourish. I provide an alternative reading of EN X.7-8, making it much less rampantly intellectualist than perhaps usually thought.


John Cooper presented this paper, with the alternative title "Virtue, Happiness, and the Final Good in Aristotle's Ethics," at the meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in December 1969. It is a preliminary version of sections of his Reason and Human Good in Aristotle, Harvard University Press 1975, reprinted by Hackett in 1986.

For additional information about the author, see Wikipedia, "John M. Cooper (philosopher)"