Hi, I need some help with these questions:
Can you help me clarify Aristotle's distinction between practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge? Does an understanding of this distinction help account for why people who know certain habits or behaviors are harmful and still persist in those behaviors?
Theoretical knowledge is, for its own sake, objects that cannot be other than what they are. These are the truths of science and mathematics. The intellectual virtues are operative here.
Practice is for something else-objects that can be different from what they are. These are the moral virtues and the principles of social life. These are less exact than the sciences.
Think of it this way-practical knowledge, like cooking or medicine (and acting morally in those jobs) exists for something else. It exists to help make us happy and satisfied with our social life. The human being can only be satisfied with the knowledge of the soul - the ultimate truths of the universe, science, etc. We can't pursue those goods unless we are educated, well fed and healthy. See what I mean here? It's really a simple distinction.
The virtues of practice must come first - then we can focus on scientific (or theoretical) knowledge.
Here's a quote from that book that you can use:
"We may summarize, then, Aristotle's views on the differences between practical ...
Aristotle's distinction between knowledge and theoretical knowledge is examined.