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Aristotle _-_


									Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)

   Nicomachean Ethics
          Kinds of Moral Theory
1. Act Itself
  – Deontological (rule-based)
  – Help other people, do not lie, etc.
2. Person
  – Aretaic (character-based)
  – Be honest, just, courageous, etc.
3. Consequence
  – Consequentialist (outcome-based)
  – Principle of Utility
• Function / Purpose / End = Telos
  – Cutting (knife), gathering nectar, etc. (bee), gaining
    yards (RB), win races (swimmer), learn, earn good
    grades (students).
• A good knife, bee, etc., does this well.
• A virtue is what the thing needs to perform its
  function well
  – Sharpness (knife), good sense of smell (bee),
    speed, explosiveness (RB), etc.
  All Activities Aim at Some Good:
• Instrumentally Good: Good for the sake of
  something else
  – E.g., driving just to get someplace
• Intrinsically Good: Good for its own sake, and not
  for the sake of anything else
  – E.g., driving just to drive, going nowhere in particular
• Both Instrumentally and Intrinsically Good
  – E.g., driving to get someplace, when the driving itself
    is enjoyable
                   Political Science
• Enquires after the chief good for human beings.
• Polis = city/community
• Human good ↔ good of the community
• Political Science = enquiry into the good of the community
• “Can only demonstrate the truth sketchily and in outline”
• Must begin from what we already know, which means that
  the student must be:
    – Mature (1095a)
    – Well brought up (1095b)
• End of the study is not knowledge but action (1095a)
    – Theorectcial vs. practical knowledge
                    Chief Good
• Complete
• Self-sufficient

= “Happiness”
= Living well and faring well
Characteristic Function of a Human
           Being (1098a):
An activity of the soul in accordance with

           The Human Good:
An activity of soul in accordance with virtue,
and if there are several virtues, in accordance
with the best and most complete…over a
complete life.
• Habits
  – Acquired through repetition of certain kinds of
  – Steady, not easily acquired, lost or changed
  – Strongly affect our behavior
• Lie in a mean between excess and defect
  3 Marks of Virtuous Action (1105b):
• Done with knowledge
• From rational choice of the actions for their
  own sake
• From a firm and unshakeable character
    Definition of a Virtue (1107a):
Virtue is a state [of character] involving rational
  choice, consisting in a mean relative to us and
  determined by reason – the reason, that is, by
  reference to which the practically wise person
  would determine it.
                    Summary of Book II
• Virtues are necessary for doing anything well, including
  living well, which is happiness
• A virtue is a “state of character….” (1107a)
• “States of character” means they:
   –   Are good habits / dispositions / settled states of character
   –   Require a good upbringing
   –   Require practice
   –   Are not easily acquired or lost
   –   Give pleasure through their characteristic actions
• Marks of virtuous action
   – Done with knowledge, chosen for its own sake (“because it’s
     good”), and from a firm and unshakeable character (1105b)
   – Lie in a mean between excess and defect
Practical Wisdom (phronesis)

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