Philosophy Talk: Dhananjay Jagannathan (Columbia)


Location: 140 DeBartolo Hall

Dhananjay Jagannathan 1

Dhananjay Jagannathan will be giving a talk titled: "Aristotelian Practical Wisdom as a Form of Understanding" on Friday, March 25, in DeBartolo Hall Room 140, at 3:00.

For more information on Prof. Jagannathan, please visit his website.


Interpreters of Aristotle have struggled to render consistent two claims he makes about practical wisdom (phronēsis): (1) that phronēsis is the virtue of thought that we need in order to exercise the character-virtues such as courage, generosity, and justice; and (2) that phronēsis is a grasp of what is on the whole or generally good for human beings. In this talk, I argue that these claims can only be understood when we identify phronēsis as practical understanding. This practical understanding is not scientific or theoretical in nature, as it grows out of the experience we gain through habituation into the character-virtues. But it is also distinct in kind from mere experience, because it displays a grasp of the characteristic goals for which the virtuous person acts. I explicate this view of phronēsis as practical understanding through careful attention to the virtue of particular justice, whose exercise involves acting in light of a proper grasp, inter alia, of the nature and value of equality among the citizens in a political community.