Epieikeia in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics digital
formato: Articolo | AEVUM ANTIQUUM - 2009 - 9
After giving an explanation of Aristotle’s “technical” account of the virtue of epieikeia (“equity”) in Aristotle, various seeming difficulties in Piazza’s account are examined. The first involves Aristotle’s conjecture that the “technical” use of the term epieikes preceded the extended account: it is argued that this seems both antecedently more likely and is not inconsistent with the evidence from authors prior to Aristotle, including Homer. Other difficulties involve the Nicomachean Ethics itself, such as that that work gives no evidence of an original, extended meaning of the term. Moreover, Aristotle seems oblivious to any connotation of epieikes other than what it gets through its connection with dikaion (justice). The famous Rule of Lesbos comparison is examined and argued to lend no support to Piazza’s thesis. Finally, it is argued that Aristotle’s characterization of a person with epieikeia, as someone who is disposed to accept less (elattōtikos), can also be seen not to support to Piazza’s thesis, once it is realized that that term occurs in a passage in which Aristotle is giving a definition of epieikeia strictly analogous to his earlier definition of dikaiosunē.