Karen Margrethe Nielsen on 'Deliberation and Practical Truth in Aristotle's Ethics'

We are very pleased to announce that Karen Margrethe Nielsen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, will deliver a talk for Filosofisk seminar this semester. The seminar will be virtual, and open to everyone.

Picture of Karen

Photo: University of Oxford


Deliberation, as Aristotle defines it, is a type of inquiry that seeks to determine how we should act. It is directed at the future: ‘we do not decide to do what is already past; no one decides, for instance, to have sacked Troy. For neither do we deliberate about what is past, but only about what will be and admits of being or not being; and what is past does not admit of not having happened’ (EN VI 1139b7-10). If we deliberate well, we will grasp the truth about practical matters (EN VI 2, 9). But how, by Aristotle’s lights, can there be truths about how we should act in the future?  
In this talk, I present an analysis of Aristotle’s theory of deliberation and practical truth in Nicomachean Ethics VI, and argue that it is not incompatible with his remarks about future contingents in De Interpretatione IX. 
In the course of my investigation, I aim to clarify what it means to treat the future as open for the purposes of deliberation, and I further specify the content of true propositions about how one should act.  

About the seminar series

Philosophical Seminar is a philosophy colloquium series, hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at UiO. The departmental colloquium has previously hosted renowned philosophers such as Charles Taylor, Peter Railton, Galen Strawson, Julia Annas, Martin Kusch, Stephen Darwall, Berit Brogaard, John Sallis, Robert B. Pippin, Serena Parekh, Laurie Paul, Cara Nine and Finnur Dellsén.

The colloquia are open to everyone and students of all levels are especially encouraged to attend. 


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Meeting ID: 666 9986 2290

Passcode: 386064



Published Mar. 6, 2020 4:45 PM - Last modified Dec. 8, 2020 3:59 PM