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Lecture 10

POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Peripatetic School, Nicomachean Ethics, Teleology


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL200Y1
Professor
Janice Stein
Lecture
10

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POL200Y1Lecture10Notes
IntrotoAristotle’sPolitics
;BooksIandII
● Aristotlelivedfrom384BCto322BC
● HewasmostnotablyastudentofPlatoandmentortoMacedoniankingAlexanderIII
(AlexandertheGreat)
● CreatedhisownschoolintheLyceumandfoundedthePeripateticSchoolofthought
becauseofdisagreementswithPlato’sAcademy
● Firstphilosophertocreatetheterm‘PoliticalScience’
● Hisaimistorealizethe‘CommonGood’ofsociety
○ Theidealthis‘Good’manifestsinisintheformofasmall,selfgoverning,participatory
politicalelitethatcouldalsomaintainsecurity
■ Onlyapplicabletotheoreticalcities(suchasPlato’scity)orsociologicaltheories
● AristotledeemsPoliticalSciencea‘MasterDiscipline’(ArchitectonicScience)becauseit
encompassesallotherdisciplines
● AristotlealsopublishedtheworkNicomacheanEthics
○ WhileAristotlehadnameditwithhissonNicomachusinmind,thenameNicomachus
alsobelongedtoAristotle’sfather
● AristotlealsodeemedPoliticalScienceadeterminantofhowotherdisciplinesshouldbe
taughtandunderstood,aswellasprioritizedforsocietallearning
○ PoliticalSciencewasportrayedasapracticalbodyofknowledge
■ Themostfundamentalgoalofthisbodyistohelphumanbeings
■ Inregardstophilosophy,thebodyalsodictateshowotherdisciplinesshouldbe
diffusedwithinaneducationsystem
● Question(s):WhatdoesitmeanforaHumanbeingtolivewell?
○ Whileweasasocietyaregrantedfreedom,thequestionsof“Howdowe(humanityin
general)utilizethis?”andHowcanweoptimizetheutilizationoffreedom?”arise
■ Aristotelianthoughtcananswerthis
● AristotleproposesthatastatesmanmustunderstandboththeGoodandtheircitizensto
fullymaximizethepowerthecityandgarnerthegreatestdegreeofhappinesswithinthe
citizenry
● SimilartoPlato,Aristotle’strainofthoughtisnotDogmatic
○ Contrastingly,heismoredidacticthanPlatobecause:
■ ThePolitics
itisnotaDialogue
■ ThePolitics
alsotakesintoaccounttheprospectofbetterpossibilities
Teleology+Virtue(withinacityperceivedunderAristotelianthought)
● (Contextual)Teleology:“Allthingstendtowardtheirend.”

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○ Doesnotmeanthatallthingsactuallyreachtheirend;their‘fate’simplygravitatesto
ending
● ForTelos,deathisregardedasnota‘final’formbutrathera‘mature’form
● Evidencebasedreasoningandobservationalunderstandingsarenotapplicableto
Humantheories
○ Suchreasoning,underthecontextofthiscourse,appliesonlytoAristotle’sPhysics
● Aristotlebelievedthatvirtueissomethingonecanpracticeuponothers
○ Virtueisnotaninherenttraitinhumanity;itmustbecultivatedwithinculture
● TheCitythatAristotleproposesisnotmeanttobereachedonaregularbasisof
intellectualthoughtbecausehisinterpretationoftheCityisthatitisrareand(solely)
idealistic
● City’simportancehasahigherpriorityoverone’sownimportance
○ E.g.“Addressingissuesofthebody(torso)beforethoseofthehand”
■ Thisrealizationisbasedonthelogicofnaturallaw,nothistoricalevidence
TypesofAssociation+ZoonPolitikon
● Aristotledevisesfourtypesofassociations:
○ Marital
■ Createdtoaddresstheuniversalhumanneedofprocreation
○ Household
■ Createdtofulfiltheneedofrulingoversociety’schildren
■ Alsocreatedtosatisfyacitizen’sdailynecessities
○ Village
■ Thisassociationexistsbetweenhouseholds
■ Therationalebehinditslocationonthisspectrumisthatofsynergy;householdscan
mutuallybenefitfromeachother’sstrengths
○ City(Polis)
■ Createdtoaddressthematterofselfsufficiency
■ WhileVillagesmaybeselfsufficientthemselves,theyareonlysointheirnatural
state;Citiesaddressselfsufficiencywithregardsto“GreaterHumanNeeds”,such
asvirtue,wisdom,justice,securityandfreedom(toselfindulgeandtoparticipate
politically)
● Humansare‘politicalanimals’becauseoftheircapabilityoflanguage,particularly
speech
○ Thiscapabilityinturn,enablespeopletodistinguishGoodandEvil

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■ LanguageenablespeopletomakesuchdistinctionsbyallowingbothGoodandBad
tobedesignatedanddeliberated
■ Languagealsoensuresthatcommunicationtootherswillendwithaconsensus
● Inadditiontothisaforementionedcapability,humansarealsoselfsufficient
● Pg.10:Anyonewholivesoutsideofacityiseitherabeastoragod
○ Godbecausehumansareinterdependent;theyneedothersforsurvivalandsuccess
○ Beastsbecause:
■ Theyareinterdependentwhenitcomestoexercisingvirtueswithothersnotbe
considered‘half‘or‘demihuman’;virtuesconstitutea‘full’human
■ Theyneedlawtoensuretheiranarchy’slongevity;suchanobjectiveisimpossible
withoutmutualcooperation
WhatisGoodForHumanBeings?
● Eudaimonia:Whilethetextinterpretsitas‘GoodFortune’(Beingblessed),itisbest
translatedas‘HumanFlourishing’underthecontextofthiscourse
● Telosistheultimateaim/goal;toAristotle,thatwouldbechoosingsomethingforitsown
saketoformTheGood
○ Theactivityofone’ssoul,whichactsinaccordancetoexcellence,isthisGood
■ DisregardtheChristianperceptionofthisGood;theGoodwhichanimatesthebody
isthegoaloneshouldfocuson
○ Thisactivityrepresentsthetheorybehindtheunderstandingofexcellence
■ E.g.therealizationofunchangingrealities,suchastheanswerstosimpleequations
like2+2=4
● Highestformofthisactivityisthedevelopmentofone’sphilosophicalunderstanding
○ TheunderstandingconsistsoftheFormalandNaturalSciences,aswellasaspectsof
theSocialSciences
■ However,Aristotlebelievesthatthecapabilitytoaccomplishthisgoalcanonlybe
achievedbyfewpeople
■ Aristotlealsoemphasizestheimportanceofethicsandtheunderstandingthat
underliesit
● Citiesarethebestplaceforhumanitytocanbestcultivatetheirnatural,ethicalnature
(throughselfactualization),aswellasbeingthebestplaygroundforactivityinone’s
soulinregardstoexcellence
● Philosophicalthinking,particularlyethicalthinking,wasanecessityforStatesmento
createthebestpoliticalorderandthemosteffectivejudgments
WhatisaPolis?
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