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Gabriel Richardson Lear (UNIVERSITY OF chicago)
The Straightedge of Virtue: Aristotle on the Rational Significance of Beauty-in-Action

2023 | 2024


MONDAY, 19 February 2024

18.00 - 19.45



Gabriel Richardson Lear is Professor of Philosophy and the Chair of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.She specializes inAncient Greek and Roman philosophy, with particular interest in the way ethics, aesthetics, and poetics intersect in Plato’s and Aristotle’s thought.


Aristotle claims that the virtuous person acts for the sake of to kalon. To understand this idea, I examine the analogy he draws between craft and virtue. I argue that the kalon is a formal feature of well-ordered wholeness and that the virtuous person takes intellectual pleasure in perceiving (or remembering or imagining) the kalon-in-action, akin to pleasure in observing artworks or works of nature. However, the virtuous person’s pleasure in kalon action is primarily a pleasure of practical reason. In these ways, Aristotle’s concept of thekalon is and is not like the modern aesthetic concept of the beautiful.

Meeting Address

Senate House, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU.

meeting time

The Society’s philosophy talks take place every fortnight on Mondays throughout the academic year. Each talk starts at 18.00 and lasts for approximately an hour. The remainder of the time is dedicated to discussion, which ends at 19.45.


All of the Society’s philosophy talks are catered with fairtrade teas, coffees, and biscuits.


In line with the Society’s mission to make philosophy readily available to the general public, all talks are free and membership is not required.

Draft Papers

Following over a century of tradition, draft papers for all the talks are available in advance. Please note that draft papers can only be cited with the authors permission (see below for final publication and subscription details). The draft paper for a talk is available approximately one week prior to its schedule delivery.

Final Papers

For the past 142 years, the Proceedings has featured widely respected papers delivered by a range of prominent philosophers, such as Alfred North Whitehead, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, A.J. Ayer, P.F. Strawson, Karl Popper, Elizabeth Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Hubert Dreyfus, Alexander Nehamas, and Onora O’Neill. Final drafts of the papers – including discussion notes and exemplary graduate papers – are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.


The venue at Senate House is wheelchair accessible and there are disabled toilet facilities on the ground floor. If you require a disabled parking space, or a hearing loop, please contact in advance, so that we can reserve these for you. Service animals are also welcome.