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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Aristotle’s phronimos and Mencius’s sage are the paragons of virtue. They exemplify practical wisdom, enabling them to perform virtuous actions called for in different situations, and are the concrete models of virtue for all human beings, without whom others would not be able to cultivate their virtues. Aristotle and Mencius are also alike in holding that the virtues of character are based on human nature, and cultivation is key to achieving them. Despite these similarities, they differ in their accounts of human nature, details on the virtues, and how they are cultivated. Whether being the phronimos or the sage is the highest good for a human being, the degree of effectiveness he has on fellow citizens and the rest of the cosmos are issues about which they would disagree. Exploring similarities and differences between the phronimos and the sage will shed light on nature and nurture in their virtue-oriented ethics.

Keywords: practical wisdom, human nature, Aristotle, Mencius, phronimos, sage

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