Educating Desire in Aristotle

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In this chapter, I employ Aristotle to investigate the various ways in which a person’s desires may be educated over time. I do so by considering how people may gradually shift from being vicious to virtuous. In particular, I sketch the shifts from (1) a contented vicious agent to (2) a discontented vicious agent to (3) an akratic or weak-willed agent to (4) an enkratic or strong-willed agent, and finally to (5) a fully virtuous agent. To make the transitions clear and the discussion accessible, I shall use some running examples, especially a smoker who eventually gives up. We shall see that crucial to charting the developmental processes are the agent’s reason-based evaluations and desires, on the one hand, and her perception-based responses and desires, on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesire and Human Flourishing
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Positive Psychology, Moral Education and Virtue Ethics
EditorsMagdalena Bosch
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-47001-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-47000-5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2020

Publication series

NamePositive Education


  • Aristotle
  • enkrateia
  • akrasia
  • Vice
  • Virtue
  • reason
  • perception
  • education
  • desire


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