Sunday, 23 October 2016

Rational Man by Henry B. Veatch

Today I received from Amazon a copy of Henry B. Veatch’s Rational Man: A Modern Interpretation of Aristotelian Ethics. The book’s preface is by Douglas B. Rasmussen.

Rasmussen says that Veatch’s arguments in Rational Man “sought to establish three claims: (1) that ethical knowledge is possible; (2) that ethical knowledge is grounded in human nature; and (3) that the purpose of ethics is to show the individual human being how to “self-perfect,” which was Veatch’s way of writing about eudaemonia in Aristotelian moral theory.”

In his foreword to the book, Veatch says that he is giving an account of the ethics of rational man, an ethics that owes its inspiration and articulation largely to the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

Here’s a quote from Rational Man:

“In Aristotle’s eyes, ethics does not begin with thinking of others; it begins with oneself. The reason is that every human being faces the task of learning how to live, how to be a human being, just as he has to learn how to walk or to talk. No one can be truly human, can live and act as a rational man, without first going through the difficult and often painful business of acquiring the intellectual and moral virtues, and then, having acquired them, actually exercising them in the concrete, but tricky, business of living.”

Henry Veatch's Rational Man is extensively referenced in The Perfectionist Turn by Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen.

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