Mimesis, Friendship, and Moral Development in Aristotle’s Ethics

Abstract

The significance of imitation for moral development during childhood, in Aristotle’s ethics, has been recognized and studied. However, what role does imitation play in the morally mature agent’s character development? In this paper, I argue that moral development is possible for the advanced moral agent, when she imitates her character-friend. But the mature agent’s imitation is of a thoroughly different type than the imitation of the young moral agent; the mature imitation mechanism is selective and interpretative. The agent selects from the goodness in her friend, depending on the agent’s own sensitivities, and adopts this goodness as a pattern that allows for personalized implementations, depending on her own dispositions and skills. In this way, the morally mature agent develops her moral character by enriching her epistemic tools and experience within the spectrum of the good.

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Publications in Rhizomata cover the full range of ancient philosophy, with special emphasis on the interaction between philosophy and science. Another thematic priority is the influence of ancient philosophy and its interpretation in the later tradition. Supplementing the articles, discussion notes and reviews, the journal also provides bibliographical documentation of recently published important work in the South-East European region.

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