The Initial Anthropology in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics


  • Georgia APOSTOLOPOULOU University of Ioannina



Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Ethics, Anthropology, ‘other animals’, anthropological difference, Anthropocentrism, the Divine.


In the ‘Foreword’, I address some aspects of Academician Georg Brutian’s philosophy. The Initial Anthropology paper follows.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle considers the relation of ethical theory to anthropology in a specific way. He sets out an initial anthropology that describes the human through its common and non-common elements to plants as well as to ‘other animals’. The conclusion is that the human animal is the only living being that is endowed with reason and carries out ‘practical life’. We may call this difference ‘the anthropological difference’. In his ethical theory, Aristotle points to the limits of the anthropological difference. On the one hand, he holds that only practical theory can explain the ‘practical life’ as well as the ‘human Good’. On the other hand, he highlights that the human is higher than the ‘other animals’, since the human is endowed with the divine element of intellect; nevertheless, there are beings that are ‘more divine’ than the human. Thus Aristotle corroborates the human and its practical life, without abandoning the Socratic-Platonic view of the Divine. In this aspect, the alleged anthropocentrism of Aristotle’s ethics is to be reconsidered.


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Author Biography

Georgia APOSTOLOPOULOU, University of Ioannina

(Dr.) is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece; Delegate of the Hellenic Society for Aesthetics at the International Association for Aesthetics; Member of the Team of Advisory Editors of WISDOM journal. Her areas of interest include aesthetics, philosophical anthropology, ethics, history of Hellenic Philosophy, problems of Continental Philosophy. Apostolopoulou is the author of 2 monographs and of 114 articles, and the editor of 3 philosophical volumes. Recent publications: “Neokantianism and Platonism in Neohellenic Philosophy”, “The Permanence of Philosophical Text”, “Philosophical Anthropology and the Sciences” and “The Beauty of Landscape in Hegel’s Aesthetics”.


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How to Cite

APOSTOLOPOULOU, G. (2017). The Initial Anthropology in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. WISDOM, 8(1), 65–76.