05 Aristotle's Ethics - Aristotle(384 322BC he is world...

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Aristotle (384 – 322BC) – he is world class whether you think of him as western or eastern philosophy. He was a student of Plato, and his father was a physician (he later had a keen interest in biology). He was precocious, and his father died when he was a boy. He was sent to live with an uncle, and on his 17 th birthday, his uncle sent him to Plato’s Academy in Athens. He stayed at Plato’s Academy for 20 years and began to write dialogues (imitating the master). When Plato died, Aristotle left the Academy with some people and went to Asia Minor and established another school. Message arrives from King Philip of Alexandria asking Aristotle to tutor his 12- year-old boy, Alexander (who became Alexander the Great). Aristotle agreed and tutored him. Alexander had a lot of respect for the culture and traditions of the people he conquered… Aristotle tutored Alexander for a few years and then returns to Athens to open the school the Lyceum. Morning lectures were inside and technical and open only to members; public lectures were held outside on the walking track in the afternoon. The Alexandrian Library had over 400 books by Aristotle (most of which were lost in the fire). Aristotle’s mature work in ethics was the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle rejected Plato’s metaphysics (about eide ). Aristotle says the form/pattern is in the thing. 10 zebra are here. In each zebra, there is a certain expression, a certain formation of matter, that places the 10 zebras together. This is called hylomorphism. Everything that exists with the exception of God is composed of matter and form. Matter is the element of potentiality. (An acorn is an acorn, matter shaped up into a certain form. But it is potentially an oak tree.) God is the unmoved mover, a fully perfected and totally developed being. No potentiality, no matter, just form. Severe criticism of Plato: there is not just one pattern of the good. Is there anything common between a good carpenter, a good meal, good weather, or a good car? No. Good is a plurality. The Nicomachean Ethics – probably dedicated to Aristotle’s nephew. Aristotle was first person to classify the sciences into 3 kinds of science based on the form they take: I) Theoretical Sciences – use precision thinking and strict proof. a. Mathematics & Logic b. Physics c. Metaphysics – Being qua Being (such as time) II) Practical Sciences – focus on human conduct and behavior. So many variables that precision thinking and strict proof are impossible. a. Humans carry into the present the bulk of their past. Salt cares not about its past, but will act the same today that it did 30 years ago. b. Rough truths can be more important than exact, strict truths. “We must be satisfied to indicate the truth with a rough and general sketch.” c. There is only one practical science – Politics. Aristotle calls it “the master science” because it determines everything in a community. Whether you go to war or not, import certain things or not, export certain things or not, educate people or not, who is educated or not, all behavior under law or not, whether philosophers were to be around or not.
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