'Ought' in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Julia Annas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Much attention has been paid to the issue of whether, in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle uses what we would recognize as deontic concepts. On the basis of a study of dei and other constructions I argue that Aristotle's use of them is often misconstrued and should be interpreted as giving reasons that are reasons of virtue, not a distinct alternative. Many issues remain live in the interpretation (and the translation) of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; in this essay I offer a contribution to one of these, the nature and role of deontic concepts in the work. I offer this essay with pleasure to a celebration of Terry and Gail's work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVirtue, Happiness, Knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Work of Gail Fine and Terence Irwin
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780198817277
StatePublished - Aug 23 2018


  • Aristotle
  • Dei
  • Deontic concepts
  • Duty
  • Reasons
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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