This article examines Aristotle's model of deliberation as inquiry (zêtêsis), arguing that Aristotle does not treat the presumption of open alternatives as a precondition for rational deliberation. Deliberation aims to uncover acts that are up to us and conducive to our ends; it essentially consists in causal mapping. Unlike the comparative model presupposed in the literature on deliberation, Aristotle's model can account for the virtuous agent's deliberation, as well as deliberation with a view to “satisficing” desires and deliberation that fails to uncover any expedient course of action. Aristotle's account of the constraints governing rational deliberation is furthermore not incompatibilist—for all Aristotle says, we may deliberate rationally despite being committed to the truth of determinism.
Research Article| July 01 2011
Karen Margrethe Nielsen; Deliberation as Inquiry: Aristotle's Alternative to the Presumption of Open Alternatives. The Philosophical Review 1 July 2011; 120 (3): 383–421. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-1263683
Download citation file: