On Aristotle’s natural limit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Among scholars of ancient economic thought, it is widely recognized that Aristotle established an upper limit to money-making. This “natural limit” has been variously construed, with some claiming that it might be settled independently of Aristotle’s ethical theory. This essay defends the contrary thesis: Aristotle’s natural limit is inextricably tied to his account of human flourishing. I also argue that, for Aristotle, a human life committed to money-making is incompatible with achieving eudaimonia. Why? For Aristotle, money-making as an end in itself is endemic to the life of pleasure, not the good life. Moreover, the unchecked pursuit of evermore money is likely to crowd out other intrinsically valuable goods, such as friendship, agency, and autonomy. Finally, from the standpoint of Aristotle’s virtue ethics, wealth acquisition beyond the natural limit is considered to be a vice, not a virtue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-407
Number of pages21
JournalHistory of Political Economy
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Aristotle
Autonomy
Human Life
Eudaimonia
Pleasure
Thought
Ethical Theory
Virtue Ethics
Pursuit
Good Life
Wealth
Friendship
Human Flourishing
Crowds
Economics
Ethical theory
Crowd-out
Economic thought
Virtue ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • History

Cite this

On Aristotle’s natural limit. / DesRoches, Tyler.

In: History of Political Economy, Vol. 46, No. 3, 2014, p. 387-407.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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