Maimonides for Moderns: A Statement of Contemporary Jewish by Ira Bedzow

By Ira Bedzow

This e-book goals to build a latest Jewish philosophy that bills for advantage ethics or, relatively, to provide Jewish advantage ethics a latest language for its expression. Ira Bedzow attracts considerably at the paintings of Moses Maimonides and his religio-philosophical rationalization of Jewish ethics. although, Bedzow strikes clear of numerous features of Maimonides’s Aristotelian biology, physics, metaphysics, and psychology. the target of the quantity is to combine the normative ideas of the Jewish culture into lifestyle. whereas the booklet interprets Jewish ethics from a medieval, Aristotelian framework right into a modern one, it additionally serves as a way for Judaism to proceed as a residing culture.

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59. Compare NE 1095a16–30. 60. Compare NE 1095b19–22. 61. Compare NE 1095b22–30. 62. Shemonah Perakim, Chapter Five. 63. Hilkhot Yesode HaTorah 2:2. 64. See Hilkhot Deot 3:3; Hilkhot Teshuva 10:3. 65. In truth, Maimonides holds that virtues and vices are dispositions or character traits that are reinforced by observing the commandments or by sinning. The passage suffers from an ambiguous translation. 66. Commentary Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1, translation in Moses Maimonides and Isadore Twersky, A Maimonides Reader (New York: Behrman House, 1972) 416.

Similarly, both work and leisure are necessary components of life (See Politics 1337b33–4). Therefore, when one is working, the good life consists of practical activity consisting of moral excellence. At times of leisure, happiness consists of engaging in the best activity, that is, theoretical contemplation. Furthermore, when engaged in practical activity, the person of excellence will understand more than just the practical aspects of the activity. He or she will choose a certain action because it is both good and noble to do so (NE 1120a23), and in acting he or she will learn more than just the practical knowledge that the activity imparts.

The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1999) 165. 5. Even virtue ethicists, such as Iris Murdoch, who do not discuss the role of public rules for the achievement of the good still admit of their necessity. For example, Murdoch’s comparison of aesthetics and ethics presupposes a set of rules to which the artist and moralist must adhere. Similarly, MacIntyre’s discussion of practices as a means for moral education includes the need for practices to have well-defined rules. 6. Alasdair MacIntyre gives a similar critique as Anscombe regarding the incomprehensibility of modern rule-based ethics, yet, in contrast to Anscombe, he recognizes that Aristotelian ethics and religious, law-based ethics have a teleological presupposition.

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