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Intro to Philosophy

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  1. Intro to Philosophy Lesson 3: Aristotle’s on Happiness The Structure of an Essay

  2. Aristotle • 384-322 BCE • Student of Plato • Tutored Alexander the Great • Influential in numerous fields: logic, rhetoric, zoology, metaphysics, theology, etc.

  3. Greek Philosophers

  4. What Did Aristotle Get Wrong? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI47KuwaxTQ

  5. Telos (τελοσ) “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” The Lower Supports the Higher:Some ends are middle grounds to a higher end, these are necessary but not sufficient. What is our ultimate end?

  6. Discussion Everyone acts in accordance with what they perceive to be in their best interests (i.e. the good). How is this true of drug addicts? How is this true of children? Is there a case in which this is not true?

  7. Happiness (ευδαιμονια) • Happiness is the highest good because it is the goal toward which all other things aim. • Pleasure – everyone feels pleasure whether good or bad • Honor – honor is not something we can control or give ourselves • Wealth – wealth is by nature intermediate • “Activity of soul (reason) in accordance with virtue (excellence) to the best and most complete (endurance)” • Reason – the activity unique to humans • Excellence – something that works as it is supposed to work • Endurance – having some permanence, not fleeting

  8. Virtue & the “Golden Mean” Every good characteristic represents an intermediate estate between:EXCESS (too much) and DEFICIENCY (not enough) No magic formula – subjective in application – it depends on the person Phronesis (φρόνησις) – “Practical Wisdom”

  9. Practice Courage Foolish Cowardice Stinginess Generosity Extravagance Humility Modesty Pride

  10. Practice Secrecy Honesty Loquacity Self-Indulgence Composure Irritability Apathy Temperance Insensibility

  11. Learning Virtue • Developing Good Habits: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them…In one word, states of character arise out of like activities” (outside-in) • Exemplar is necessary • The political philosopher is the “architect of the end” • The material foundation of happiness • Although material goods are lower goods, they are necessary for happiness • We do not have the ability to use reason properly without training (education requires material basis: teachers, books, infrastructure, etc.) • We do not have the luxury to philosophize if we are constantly busy attending to the basic necessities of life

  12. True Virtue: 3 Conditions • Act out of good character • Must be done as an expression of character rather than as a struggle against character • Must be chosen for its own sake (motive) • A conscious decision to eschew all other goals for the sake of this goal • Must be understood • You have to know what you’re doing

  13. The Highest Good The ultimate goal of human life is to use our highest capacity to its fullest extent That capacity is ‘reason’ as the unique function of humans (soul) True happiness comes from contemplating the source of reason (mind, νους) Contemplation (θεωρία) – putting our soul into contact with eternal, unchanging reality

  14. Jesus and Aristotle Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) “Blessed” (makarioi) ~= “Happy” (eudaimonia) Virtues, principles, and practices Jesus as exemplar or embodiment See also: 2 Cor. 3:18 “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”

  15. The Structure of a Philosophical Essay State the proposition to be proved Give the argument for the proposition Show that the argument is valid Show that the premises are true State the upshot of what has been proven

  16. Procrastinator’s Bible Think of a topic Simplify it: create a thesis (or opinion) about it Think of reasons why people should believe it {Remember the Virtues: clarity, precision, orderliness, and simplicity} Summarize