Philosophy of Desire 3: Aristotle and Prohairesis


  • Leonardo Ramos-Umaña Becario del programa de Becas Posdoctorales en la UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas


Deliberative choice, theory of action, practical syllogism, prohairesis


One of the fundamental theses inside the Aristotelian ethics is that virtue, and therefore happiness depends on ourselves. To explain this, Aristotle develops a theory of voluntariness, where the main concept is prohairesis. However, when Aristotle tries to explain human action (although animal movement too) through the so-called “practical syllogism”, he fails to tell us clearly and distinctly, what role prohairesis plays there, reprehensible obscurity given the importance of such concept. Then, the purpose of this article is to explain what the place of prohairesis within the practical syllogism is. In this process, we will find that the question "what is prohairesis?" is inaccurate and that we rather must ask ourselves “what are prohaireseis?”, since we can identify three different types of it, which we are going to explain in the following.


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