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The Impossibility of PerfectionAristotle, Feminism, and the Complexities of Ethics$
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Michael Slote

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790821.001.0001

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(p.2) (p.3) Introduction
The Impossibility of Perfection

Micheal Slote

Oxford University Press

This book defends Isaiah Berlin's famous thesis that perfection—whether of the virtues or of human happiness—is impossible in principle, but it gives arguments for the thesis in a way that Berlin himself never did. If we become convinced that imperfection is inevitable, we end up with an ethical picture of human life that is diametrically opposed to anything to be found in Aristotle or the rest of Greek or modern philosophy. And because of the largely feminist roots of the argument, we also end up with an account of the content and methodology of ethics that stresses a balance between and integration of traditionally conceived masculine and feminine factors. An outline of the chapters in order is also given.

Keywords:   Aristotle, care ethics, Enlightenment, feminism, Isaiah Berlin, partial values, perfection, personal good(s), Romanticism, virtue(s)

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