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PHL100Y1 Lecture Notes - Nicomachean Ethics, Descriptive Ethics, Summum Bonum


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Mark Kingwell

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Nicomachean Ethics Book 1
- Plato founded the Academy where you could go and study Plato's works
- Aristotle was Plato's most famous student
- when Aristotle was 16 or 17, he came to Athens to study at Plato's Academy
and stayed there for 20 years
- around 348 when Plato died, Aristotle left the Academy and traveled to
Macedonia to act as tutor to King Philip's son Alexander, who then conquered
most of the world
- Aristotle set up his own institution, but he couldn't own property in Athens
because he wasn't Greek
- When Alexander the Great died, there was much anti-Macedonian sentiment
going around
- Aristotle fled the city and died shortly thereafter
- Aristotle had his own mini-university as did Plato; important because of a
distinction between kinds of writings: esoteric and exoteric
- exoteric: things that were meant to circulate wildly and in some sense were
popular works; meant for general consumption
- esoteric: meant for internal studies that were meant for people within the
school; technical and unappealing to the general public
- we only have the exoteric works of Plato; we have nothing that was
designed for the Platonists who asked probing questions that Plato would
-it did exist and some point in some form, but we have no access to it
- we have lost Aristotle's exoteric works; they were supposedly delightful and
rich in literature
- these were notes Aristotle used were much more compressed and
- Aristotle is known as the father of physics, biology, logic
-he set people to collect facts
-when it came to study politics, students would study institution that had
been active in the last century or so
-he wanted to start from not an ideal notion, but from what the best of the
wise people think
-in ethics, in essence what we want to do is start from views and opinions
- Philosophy is finding the basic principles
- Descriptive ethics: he looks to see what people think and searches for
theoretical foundation of our common moral consciousness
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