ARISTOTLE'S TREATMENT OF THE SOCRATIC PARADOX IN THE NICOMACHEAN ETHICS
McBrayer, Gregory A.
Butterworth, Charles E.
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This dissertation seeks to understand one of the most perplexing statements uttered by the Platonic Socrates, the so-called Socratic Paradox that no one voluntarily does wrong. In such dialogues as the Gorgias and the Protagoras, Socrates famously, or infamously, declared that all wrongdoing is a result of ignorance and is therefore not culpable. While the beginning point for this investigation is Socrates, this dissertation turns for the most part to Aristotle as the first and foremost commentator on the Platonic dialogues, guided by the belief that Aristotle can aid in the discovery of what Socrates' outlandish assertion means. In Books III and VII of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle takes up the questions on which the Socratic Paradox touches, submitting the so-called paradox to scrutiny in Book VII. While much research has focused on the Socratic Paradox, the contribution of this work is to exploit the intellectual genius Aristotle has brought to bear on this question. Turning to Aristotle will allow us to gain greater clarity into this central tenet of Socratic Political Philosophy.