The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Megalopsychia (the greatness of soul) also translated as pride, or magnanimity, is a virtue Aristotle attributes to the good person regarding his claim to be worthy of great things, namely, honor. Despite this definition, commentators like C. Rowe, H. Curzer, R. Polansky and J. Stover, all chose to de-emphasize the centrality of honor in Aristotle’s definition of megalopsychia. Aristotle’s assertion that honor is the greatest external good also seems to be in tension with megalopsychia as a virtue that is to be pursued for its own sake, not to mention its tension with his remark that friendship is the greatest external good. In this essay, I seek to examine if these apparent contradictions are real for Aristotle’s megalopsychia and offer an account of what he should have said about megalopsychia to be consistent with the concept of honor itself and with his ethics as a whole.


May Sim presented “What Aristotle should have said about Megalopsychia” to the Society at its meeting with the Central Division in Chicago in 2010.

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