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Conflicts between virtues would not result in the radical incommensurability described by Wiggins (having no common end at all). Such a highest end would by no means be a “universal rule” in the sense criticized by Wiggins in his reply to Allan, since particular circumstances could, as always, affect or prevent altogether the manner and means by which the end would be actualized. The “situational appreciation” of practical wisdom would therefore still play a vital role in the practical actualization of any virtue. Since the benefits of this interpretation include the elimination of radical incommensurability without appeal to universal Kantian “rules,” as well as the unification of Book 10 with Books 1, 3, 6, and 7 of the Nicomachean Ethics and Book 7 of the Politics, its status as a viable alternative is worthy of consideration.


Anthony Crifasi presented “Are ends subject to deliberation in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics? A reply to David Wiggins” to the Society at its meeting with the Eastern Division in Washington DC in 1998.

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