Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is devoted to the topic of human happiness. Yet, although Aristotle's conception of happiness is central to his whole philosophical project, there is much controversy surrounding it. Hope May offers a new interpretation of Aristotle's account of happiness - one which incorporates Aristotle's views about the biological development of human beings. May argues that the relationship amongst the moral virtues, the intellectual virtues, and happiness, is best understood through the lens of developmentalism. On this view, happiness emerges from the cultivation of a number of virtues that are developmentally related. May goes on to show how contemporary scholarship in psychology, ethical theory and legal philosophy signals a returban to Aristotelian ethics. Specifically, May shows how a theory of motivation known as Self-Determination Theory and recent research on goal attainment have deep affinities to Aristotle's ethical theory. May argues that this recent work can ground a contemporary virtue theory that acknowledges the centrality of autonomy in a way that captures the fundamental tenets of Aristotle's ethics.
About the Author
Hope May is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University, USA. She received her Ph.D from Michigan State University in 2001. In 2008, she received her J.D. degree from Michigan State University College of Law, graduating magna cum laude and winning awards for her work in free expression, international law, and legal interpretation.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements \ Abbreviations and Notes on Translations \ 1. The Intellectualism Debate \ 2. A Developmentalist Interpretation of the Function Argument \ 3. Ethical Virtue as a Developmental Prerequisite for Contemplative Excellence \ 4. Aristotle's Developmentalist Approach Modernized: Flourishing as Self-Concordance \ 5. The Developmental Preconditions of Self-Concordance \ 6. The Ecological Preconditions of Self-Concordance \ Conclusion \ Wendy Kopp: An Illustration of Self-Concordance \ Notes
Bibliography \ Index of Names \ Index of Subjects.