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Aristotle Class Notes

Aristotle Class Notes - Sept2,2009 5doublespacedpages...

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PHIL 230 ‐ Moral Philosophy Aristotle – Nicomachean Ethics Sept 2, 2009 Read readings more than once ‐ read again after lecture choose topic from list for essays ‐ this is a writing intensive course... 5 double spaced pages exclusively letter grades, typical average B‐ What kind of life is a good life to lead, and can this be compatible with another's good life? Philosophical reflection on how to live and how to treat others We will look at historically influential treatments of major questions on moral philosophy ‐ classical philosophers Aristotle What is worth pursuing? What does a good life entail? Marriage and family, success, money, or whatever it is that you want personally? What constitutes a moral life? What is the relation between a good life, and a moral life? Are they identical, are they incompatible? How do we reason about what we do? We engage in thought about what to do, how can that be a subject matter for thought? What does it mean to use reason what to do, versus what things are or how to do something? Can we figure out the answers to questions on moral and good lives purely through reason? Or is there a limit, and must we use emotion etc after a certain point? If I decide I ought to give 10% of my income to charity, is it only my theoretical decision that made me go ahead and actually do it? What are moral judgements? How much do they share or not share with questions about facts (ie what temperature is it etc) September 9, 2009 Introductory remarks on Aristotle and the NE ‐ The argument of I 1‐5, 7‐8 A. happiness is the highest good 1. there is a highest good 2. it is happiness B. the nature of this highest good, happiness 1. critique of common conceptions of happiness(i 5) 2. A.1. The highest good/ best good/ highest end (sometimes shortened to the end or the good ): that at which everything ultimately aims (1094a2) By this he means all human activities strive for this This needs to be established further than the idea that all human actions have an end a single goal, (similarly saying everyone has a mother, does not mean everyone has the same
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mother) we need to be persuaded that all actions strive for the same end Reading Aristotle/ hanging out with friends seem to have different ends – ie a multiplicity of ends, a diversity of ends Aristotle must prove to us that there is a single end (1094a7) admits bridlemaking makes a good bridle, woodworking makes a good cabinet how does he reconcile these two ideas? He draws a distinction (philosophers differentiate things) between types of activities/ends? in order to reconcile the idea of multiple ends with the highest goal So: The end of an activity the goal, aim, or point of the activity the good which you seek to obtain by engaging in the activity (what does Aristotle mean by end?) “that for the sake of which [the activity] is done” (1097a19) *** we can differentiate different kinds of ends things that you want /value/pursue/care about/engage in for the sake of something else ie working at superstore, not for working itself, but for money
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