Lecture 3- Nichomachean Ethics
Tutorial Writing Assignment
- Play by Sophocles (Antigone)
Read Critical Apparatus in Text (Antigone)
- Reading of Aristotle
- Question about the Aquinas reading as well
- Four Questions (should take 2 hours)
- Very Specific Questions (ask to do different things)
- Direct Text will be given, and analyze
- Sometime asks for knowledge in the reading
- How you can synthesize what you know?
- SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW AND UNDERSTAND!
- Closed book exercise
- Read the Materials
- Reading Discussion Questions
- Answer the Questions Given
- Natural Law
- What is law? What is the relationship between law and morality?
- According to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas: Law is Justice Law stands in the closest possible
relationship with morality
- Ancient Greeks in medieval ages with Aquinas is that Law is Justice, if a law is unjust then we don’t
have a law at all, this is a perversion of law.
- This theory, good theory, in challenged theory until the late eighteenth century and nineteenth
century until we get to utilitarian’s, Jeremy Bentham
- Only then is there a rival theory to this, called legal positivism
Aristotle on Justice
- Aristotle’s work is based on his students lecture notes, sometimes fragments and inconsistencies and
repetition in the style of his text.
- Aristotle’s books on ethic is one of the iconic texts
Life and Work of Aristotle
- He is one of three people of great thinkers
- He is the pupil of Plato, who was a pupil of Socrates
- Aristotle is born, he spent his life philosophizing and he died.
- Single important thing about Aristotle was that he was a philosopher
- Philosopher: A lover of wisdom
- Aristotle asked probing fundamental questions, and widest far ranging interests possible, ethics, logic,
epistemology, biology, metaphysics, medicine
- At age 17 , left home at Greece and went to Athens, went to Plato’s academy for 20 years
- Alexander was his pupil, Alexander the Great
- Found his own school of philosophy, lisum
- He and his students were known as the parapthetics (people who stroll about) - In 323 BCE he was charged with the same charges Socrates has been charged with corrupting the
youth and impiety
- Aristotle chose to flea Athens, he was doing this to prevent the Athenians from thinning against
philosophy the second time
- One year later he dies in 322 BCE at age 62
- Known as Virtue Ethics
- We are used to utilitarian (Utility) and Kantian (Universal, Do not treat other as means to end and not
- Aristotle discusses, Virtue Ethics
- He asks: How do we live a good life? How can we live a life that is valuable to ourselves and other?
- 4 concepts in Aristotle’s mission:
1) What is the ultimate goal of the human being, Telos?
2) Happiness (Aristotle’s understanding of happiness)
3) Virtue (What constitutes virtue)
4) Highest virtue for the individual and society, JUSTICE!
1) Telos- Means to an End
- Everything in nature moves from potentiality to actuality
- E.g. Acorns potentiality to become a oak
- Every inquiry is aimed to one end, and the good is what everything aims at
- What is the good human beings aim at? Eudemonia (HAPPINESS)
2 preliminary questions
- How does he know that what human beings aim at happiness?
- He is an empiricist, he examine existing views, culture and through observation and experience he
arrive at his answer, HAPPINESS
- Why does he want to explore the ultimate goal of happiness?
- The reason he wants to know this is practical, reason is so that he can put the good life into practice,
action, he wants to know what virtue is, not for theoretical knowledge, instead so that he can put into
practice to become good and do good.
What is Happiness?
- He doesn’t consider happiness as a feeling, sentiment or pleasure, having our desires fulfilled
- Happiness has something to do with the specificity
- Rational and Irrational
- He says he share certain characteristics with plants, nutrition
- We have certain characteristics similar to animals, appetite, sex, feelings, consciousness
- We have something that is unique only to our selves, OUR CAPABILITY TO REASON
- Aristotle says that the chief good has to do with something specific to human beings, happiness has to
be an activity of the reason
- Happiness is going to be a rational activity and connected to the fact that we are a rational animal but
a social animal also
Happiness- do not Pursue
- He begins by telling us what not to pursue: Money, Pleasure, Fame
- Money is an instrumental good not an intrinsic good (