Abstract

This paper analyzes two components of Aristotle’s physiological discussion of natural character in the biological works: its close causal connection to a living being’s material nature and its changeability due to external environmental factors. As I shall argue, both components are important for our understanding of Aristotle’s views about the moral development of human beings in his ethical treatises. Starting with Aristotle’s ethnographical passage in the Politics (Pol VII 7, 1327b18–38), according to which differences among the natural character traits of the various nations of human beings—and hence of the ease with which lawgivers can lead them to virtue—are related to the different climates in which they live, this paper fleshes out some of Aristotle’s most prominent views about natural character and its implications for who can and who cannot become virtuous and happy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 507-530
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-12
Open Access
No
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