Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 January 2020
I explore the place of spirituality within a neo-Aristotelian ethical perspective. Among neo-Aristotelians this issue is often either ignored or excluded from consideration. I discuss why this is and also why it is problematic. More positively, I suggest how spirituality can play an important role in a neo-Aristotelian account of “the good life.” By “spirituality” I mean a practical life-orientation that is shaped by what is taken to be a self-transcending source of meaning, which involves strong normative demands, including demands of the sacred or the reverence-worthy. I argue that through an exploration of the strong evaluative standpoint from within our human form of life as meaning-seeking animals we can come to appreciate better the importance of spirituality for human beings throughout recorded history and why we can be described as homo religiosus. In addition, I argue against the anti-contemplative stance of many neo-Aristotelians and for the integral importance of contemplation for human life, and for the spiritual life in particular. I also discuss the draw of theistic spirituality, even though my account allows for both theistic and non-theistic forms of spirituality.