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Abstract | Aristotelian Piety Reconsidered

Aristotle apparently does not discuss piety in the Nicomachean Ethics, certainly not overtly. Against an ingenious proposal by Sarah Broadie, I argue that the passage she identifies as a covert discussion of piety does not give a special role to piety. By placing the passage in question in its context, I provide a reading of the context that can explain why Aristotle needs to discuss the connection between external resources and happiness. The dicta of the wise, Solon and Anaxagoras, fit squarely into that project, and Solon in particular helps to lead over to the passage in question, without special attention to piety. Finally, I offer an interpretation of the passage that likewise makes do without piety. If my interpretation is right, I have eliminated yet another initially plausible candidate for an admittedly clandestine discussion of piety.

About Joachim Aufderheide

Joachim Aufderheide is lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London. He studied Philosophy, Greek, and Latin at the Universities of Göttingen and St Andrews. His research focuses mainly on ethics in ancient philosophy, with a particular interest in pleasure (the topic of his dissertation) and the role of the highest good. He is currently writing a book on Nicomachean Ethics X (for Cambridge UP) which combines his interest in the highest good and pleasure.

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