2020 Winner: Aristotle’s Politics and The Charge of Egoism

Project Information
Aristotle’s Politics and The Charge of Egoism
Philosophy (LIT 184D)
The recent revived interest in virtue ethics and, in particular, Aristotelian virtue ethics has also instigated a conversation between its proponents and opponents. While the criticisms against Aristotelian virtue ethics are numerous and vary greatly, perhaps the most common is ‘the charge of egoism’. This paper analyzes the ‘charge of egoism’ through Tom Angier’s particular critique as well as Rosalind Hursthouse and Glen Pettigrove’s general analysis to show that the central objection in ‘the charge of egoism’ is that it is self-regarding, egotistic, and not other-regarding, altruistic. It then moves on to establish that Aristotle’s Politics is a) a part of his ethical framework and b) the more foundational of his ethical treatises to demonstrate that, given the parameters of ‘the charge of egoism’, Aristotelian ethics is necessarily other-regarding and, therefore, not egotistic but altruistic. This paper concludes by considering whether this charge is less about what is self vs other regrading and more about the differences between the liberal and communitarian conceptions of human nature.
PDF icon 1248.pdf
  • Cynthia Lissete Gonzalez (Oakes)