Sheffield and J.
The Role Of Happiness . “Happiness Is The Meaning And The
Warren, Routledge Publishing. Anagnostopoulos , Blackwell Publishing. This course will offer a close reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, one of the great works of ethics. Among the topics to be considered are: What is a good life? What is ethics? What is the relation between ethics and having a good life? What is it for reason to be practical? What is human excellence?
What is the non-rational part of the human psyche like? How does it ever come to listen to reason?
What is human happiness? What is the place of thought and of action in the happy life? This course is intended for Philosophy majors and for Fundamentals majors. Otherwise please seek permission to enroll. An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.
The ancient Greek philosophical tradition contains an enormously rich and influential body of reflection on the practice of poetry. We will focus our attention on Plato and Aristotle, but will also spend some time with Longinus and Plotinus.
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Topics will include: the analysis of poetry in terms of mimesis and image; poetry-making as an exercise of craft, divine inspiration, or some other sort of knowledge; the emotional effect on the audience; the role of poetry in forming moral character and, more broadly, its place in society; the relation between poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy; aesthetic values of beauty, wonder, truth, and grace.
Open only to intensive-track majors. It is this tension in Aristotle's treatment of human happiness that is, at its broadest level, the subject of L.
More particularly, L. Thus her book is the newest addition to a longstanding debate among Aristotelian scholars between monistic and inclusivist interpretations of NE. To the inclusivist eudaimonia is essentially a class of human goods of sufficient intrinsic value to be regarded as constituents of human happiness. To the monist, on the other hand, eudaimonia is not a class of goods but rather one or more independent activities, standing in some form or another as the final cause of other relevant human goods.
Contemplation, therefore, can be understood as the only human good choice-worthy for itself alone and not for the sake of anything else and thus as Aristotle's monistic eudaimonia. The problem is how practical rationality in general and the acts of moral virtue in particular can be ordered to contemplation as the final and monistic human end, if they are also ends in themselves. This is what L.
What is new in her approach is the nature of the ordering between the life of moral virtue and the contemplative life of philosophy. In her view the activities of moral virtue are approximations of the proper activity of contemplation. She defines the approximation in relation to truth as the object of rational capacity taken in its totality, both practical and theoretical. Aristotle's texts are somewhat special in the classical corpus as are other Greek philosophical writings of similar originality and depth because they present some issues which are properly the province of the professional classicist and others which are more properly the province of the professional philosopher.
Thus one can usefully divide approaches to Aristotle according to this distinction. While L. In chapter 1 she provides a general introduction. In chapter 2 she attempts to distinguish Aristotle's particular understanding of teleology as applied to the finality of eudaimonia. In chapter 3 she focuses on self-sufficiency, interpreting it as a function of finality. In chapter 4 she develops the notion of approximation as a general solution to the problem of mid-level ends.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Chapter 5 is the heart of her argument: there she applies her theory of approximation to the practical rationality of moral virtue. In chapter 6 she discusses the relation to practical rationality of to kalon , translated throughout as "the fine. And finally, in chapter 8 she comes back to philosophic contemplation and pragmatic approximation through the query why should a philosopher also choose the moral life.
My procedure here will be to describe in clear and brief summaries the central proposal of each chapter, with some general comments about her overall project reserved for final remarks. After her introduction L.
Happy Lives and the Highest Good: An Essay on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
She sets her view against the inclusivists' misunderstanding, as she sees it, of Aristotle's ethical teleology p. Notwithstanding that the bulk of NE pertains to human choice, L. In natural processes Aristotle sees the "essence or form" of a natural entity as that which defines the proper specifications and final completion of natural motion. Thus essence or form is the end of natural motion and as such determines its value and defines its proper goodness.
From these premises she constructs a monistic interpretation of Aristotle's argument wherein eudaimonia becomes the normative standard of all human action determining both its proper limits and final fulfillment. At the end of this first chapter L. In chapter 3 L. She rejects explicitly the inclusivist's interpretation that self-sufficiency means the inclusion within "happiness" of all or most other significant human goods p.
For L. In this way self-sufficiency is a function of the normative aspect of the finality of eudaimonia. Thus: "A self-sufficient final cause makes the network [leading to it] lack nothing further [emphasis hers] for its desirability" p. All, or at least most, goods ordinarily thought to be significantly desirable, i. A corollary of her conception is that it is no contradiction to the notion of self-sufficiency for one or more significantly desirable goods to be lacking from the happy life.
Chapters 4 and 5 contain the core of L.
First in chapter 4 she argues that mid-level ends can both be choice-worthy for their own sakes and also choice-worthy for the sake of a more final end by virtue of approximating the proper activities of that end. Despite a long prefatory attempt to find forms of approximation in the final causality of Aristotle's Prime Mover, 1 the crux of her argument involves again an application of Aristotle's natural philosophy.
In De Anima ab7 Aristotle explains reproduction as an animal's attempt to "participate" in the eternal and divine in the only way possible for it. In On Generation and Corruption a he speaks of coming to be and passing away as an imitation of divine circular motion. In a very brief paragraph p. Then in chapter 5 she argues more particularly that the rational activity of practical intellect in the life of moral virtue, while an end in itself, is also an approximation of theoretical rationality.
Because it is such an approximation, it is therefore also choice-worthy for the sake of the more perfect end of philosophic contemplation. The connections, simplified, are as follows: truth and precision are proper functions of both practical and theoretical reasoning; theoretical intellect, however, both in terms of its precision and in terms of its proper object, grasps truth in a more perfect way cf. Thus, in her view, approximation allows for the ordering of practical rationality to theoretical rationality in graduated levels of finality, mid-level to supreme. In chapters 6 and 7 L.
She argues first in chapter 6 that moral action is an end in itself because it is kalon or fine. In her analysis this means that moral choice of the intermediate is 1 beautiful because it is ordered, symmetric, and bounded and 2 visibly determined by the final and highest human end of philosophic contemplation.