chapter  2
22 Pages

Phronetic Perception

Despite the previous preliminary clarifi cations, the worldly character and the visibility ascribed to prakton still remain puzzling, in part because its status as a worldly entity has not been clarifi ed. Indeed, one might think that the visibility of what is prakton is dependent on the recognition of common ethical principles or on common activities to be undertaken. If this were actually the case, the visibility I am arguing for would be inescapably relegated to communitarian public evidence. Nevertheless, this thesis is far from meeting the requirements laid down by the Aristotelian description of prakton. Instead, one might advance a strict ontological argument consolidating the exteriority of prakta: Given that any perceptual object is, by defi nition, external, saying that a prakton is a perceptual object is tantamount to confi rming its exteriority. This is the unexpected conclusion I intend to draw from Aristotle’s defi nition of phronêsis in terms of perception, what I will henceforth name ‘phronetic perception’. My main claim will be that phronetic perception is not a matter of decent ethical outlooks but a faculty which gives us access to a common moral world-a faculty shared by all human beings endowed with practical reason. My reading of Aristotle’s moral realism will be thereby distinguished from other sorts of contemporary moral realism which also appeal to Aristotle’s pattern of perception.