September 26

Monday, September 26, 2022

Aristotle on the Human Good

In this class we begin our unit on Aristotle, one of the most wide-ranging thinkers of all time and by some measures the most influential philosopher in the Western tradition. After noting the historical background against which Aristotle developed his views, we will explore how his disagreement with Plato on issues of metaphysics influences his conception of happiness (eudaimonia) as the final end for human beings. Key to this notion of our final end is the idea that human beings have a specific “function” or “work” (ergon). We will examine how Aristotle derives his theory of the good life and the idea that virtue (aretē) is essential to living a good life from his understanding of this human function.

Before Class

  • Try reconstructing Aristotle’s argument about the human function in NE I.7 in your own terms. What is the main conclusion? What premises lead to this conclusion? You do not need to turn this in prior to class.

After Class