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University of Guelph
PHIL 1000
John Russon

1 of 3 October 1/2013 PHIL*1000*0106 Introduction to Philosophy o Human beings won't automatically grow up to be a happy and functioning being - we have to take responsibility for our own upbringing o Virtues come about when we take it upon ourselves to bring our existence in line with logos o We have to make ourselves humane, it doesn't just occur as a natural process - humanity must be cultivated o We are different in this sense from other species that do just naturally grow up to be all that they are capable of being o One of the point's Aristotle makes is that the developing of moral virtues must occur through someone else pressing you to become a certain way - we need parents! o It is the very nature of human beings that we can't carry out our humanity on our own - we are social animals by nature o The larger society also plays a role in cultivating virtuous individuals that fulfil the demands of logos o Example: political community Political Communities o Ancient Egypt: rulers were seen as god kings  Had absolute authority  Relationship between subjects and ruler was essentially worship and ownership o In the US, aren't ruled by a person, you are ruled by law o Still, begins with the family  Eventually communities form  Ruled by the eldest  Groups get together for the sake of living and being able to sustain themselves  When several villages are united, large enough to sustain themselves, the state comes into play to form a political community  It takes a long time for human beings to create the kind of environment that is beneficial to our being o Man is a political animal o Role of speech  Intended to set forth the expedient and inexpedient (what would be useful and what would not) and the just and the unjust  We can express what is both useful and just, and take account to figure out how to accomplish the things we want  Characteristic of man that we have a sense of good and evil  Justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice is the source of political order in society 2 of 3 Aristotle argues that the distinctly human thing about us is our political communities. We come together and collectively decide how we should live. Important Ideas o Think about the idea that we are social beings and depend on communities o There are different kinds of community and different ways we come together with other people o Do we primarily belong to a family?  Aristotle says we most basically need to be in a. a family group b. a village/clan/extended family group and c. a political community  Think about the different kinds of rule in these groups - someone is the boss to whom you are subject  We come together for the sake of living and for the good life  The way we come together involves collective decisions on how we should live  He says these things come out through speaking and logos  Political communities remove subjects and create citizens that participate in society  This is the kind of society in which we must live in if we are going to flourish as human beings Greek History o How did this political reality come about? o Around 500 BC, the Persians tried to invade Greece  The massive Persian army couldn't get through a small pass being blocked by Spartans  Famous story  The Spartan soldiers all knew they were going to die but stayed there for the sake of dela
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