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by: Mariamawit Notetaker

Philosophie Phl 151-21

Mariamawit Notetaker
La Salle
GPA 3.06

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About this Document

these notes are about Aristotle.
The Human Person
Dr. Whitney Howell
75 ?




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This 11 page Bundle was uploaded by Mariamawit Notetaker on Tuesday February 9, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Phl 151-21 at La Salle University taught by Dr. Whitney Howell in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see The Human Person in History at La Salle University.


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Date Created: 02/09/16
PHL 150 21&22 Page 1 Aristotle Background information:  He lived from 384 to 322 BCE.  He is an ancient Greek philosopher.  He wrote about many things: politics, astronomy, government, poetry etc… and when writing he would always start with what has been said about the topic he is discussing in his book and then interpret it philosophically. We studied a few extais of his book Nicomachean Ethics: Book I.7, 13; Book II. 1-2, 6- 7; Book VIII.1-5. Book I.7:  What is the ultimate end or good that human life is direct towards according to Aristotle? We pursue different type of goods to get the ultimate good which is HAPPINESS. The author describes happiness as something we choose for it’s own sake as such, it is self- sufficient.  How is happiness different from pleasure? PHL 150 21&22 Page 2 Aristotle says that: “[..] but honor, pleasure, reason, and every virtue we choose indeed for themselves (for if nothing resulted from them we should still choose each of them), but we choose them also for the sake of happiness, judging that means of them we shall be happy.”. So what I think he is saying is that pleasure is good enough for someone even if they don’t get anything out it but, we still want pleasure because it has the capacity of making us happy. On the other hand, we want happiness for the sake of itself, it’s the ultimate goal. Aristotle here explains that he is after more than a feeling. He uses the Greek word EUDAIMONIA which means “a life well lived” and that is what he says he is after.  What capacity distinguishes the human sort of life, according to Aristotle? Human beings are LIVING THINGS and so we share many things in common with other living things. We need nutrition and we grow like plants but, we also reproduce, have movement, perception: the six senses, have emotion, desire, instinct, we are social all like animals. However, what distinguishes HUMAN BEINGS from other LIVING THINGS is our accountability. PHL 150 21&22 Page 3 Aristotle identifies “Rational principles” as something humans have. By rational principles he is talking about human beings’ ability to think, knowing what’s right/wrong, reasoning. He uses the Greek word LOGOS which means logic, to explain his statement. He in other words is saying that we are animals with Logos which, transforms our inner animal.  On p.319, Aristotle defines happiness as “activity of soul in accordance with virtue.” why is happiness an activity? Aristotle defines as “activity of soul I accordance with virtue”. SOUL came from the Greek word PSYCHE which means ALIVE and, VIRTUE came from the Greek word ARETE which means EXCELLENCE. So according to him Happiness is the best kind of living done by the best soul. By soul he means human being. Why activity you might ask? Well we can say because living is something you keep doing but it is also because living itself is an activity. Book II.1-2  What are the tree parts of the human soul? Which parts of the soul have distinctively human virtue? How are these virtues cultivated? PHL 150 21&22 Page 4 The human soul: Irrational Character Rational Vegetative, Appetitive, Rational nutrition, growth… Desiring principle, ability “nutrition and This more of to give and take growth”(1102a35,p. who we are, our account, 329). immediate THINKING! This is what we action. Aristotle What makes us share in common says this is our distinctively with all living CHARACTER. human. things. VIRTUE OF VIRTUE OF NO DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER INTELLECT HUMAN VIRTUES PHL 150 21&22 Page 5  The irrational human soul has no distinctive virtue because it is the part of the soul which functions when we are not conscious, like when we are sleep. (1102b8, p.329).  The character human soul has virtue of character meaning, temperance and liberality.  This virtue is developed by HABITUATION.  The rational human soul has virtue of intellect such as philosophical wisdom, understanding of particular wisdom (1103a16, p.331) this virtue is developed by TEACHING.  When does the development of moral character begin, according to Aristotle? Moral virtues are developed by Habituation. We develop habits by: Making a decision (to making something a habit) Family environment External demands (e.g work) Unconsciously, copying mechanism  Are we responsible for the development of our moral character? Why or why not? PHL 150 21&22 Page 6 We do and don’t at the same time. We do because habituation is something we can develop on our own. By definition, Habituation is the history that leads to our acting of a certain way. But Character is something that shows up before we have time to think about how we’re going to act, so its uncontrollable. Book II.6-7  Aristotle claims that virtue is a “mean “condition. What is it a mean between? Why is not the same as an arithmetic mean? Is it always “in the middle” or the “average” of two extremes? Why or why not? Aristotle explains that virtue is a mean, an intermediate. It is a mean between deficiency and excess. This means you can either have to much of something or less of something and that would be inconvenient in either case. But you need an in-between amount which is just right; and that is the mean. The mean is a middle value, which is why it is similar to the arithmetic mean. But the difference between the two is that the arithmetic mean is always the middle: like if we had a set of numbers from 2 to 10, the PHL 150 21&22 Page 7 arithmetic mean would be 6. Whereas if we take the example of emotions like anger or jealousy or happiness, how we react depends on many things like the situation, where we are at that time etc.… so if was anger and I was with my parents the right to do would be to control myself and be good tempered but that wouldn’t be at the middle it would be a little closer to no response. No Good response temper Rage ed The mean or intermediate according to Aristotle depends on situational factors: There are right/wrong times There are right wrong ways There are right/wrong objects David Foster Wallace, “This is water”  Wallace describes what he refers to as our “natural default setting” on p.3. how does the very nature of our own immediate experience lend support to this nature default setting? What features of the average day does Wallace identify as potential challenges to the natural default setting? PHL 150 21&22 Page 8 Our “natural default setting” is an automatic/unreflective way of acting/thinking (not asking “why”). It is very self centered. Challenges to it: Other people, other’s experience, what they’ve been through. Seeing that we have a choice, we are free to choose how we respond to something that has come our way. By choices we should understand: We choose how we think. Choose how we act after the fact, usually we have a choice after the fact. It become harder as we age. It depends on the person. Book VIII.1-5  What are the tree types of friendships that Aristotle distinguishes? What characterizes each types of friendships? which are short lived and why? Which is the most lasting? Which is “perfect”? Tree types of friendships: UTILITY PLEASURE GOOD “perfect Based on Based on pleasure. friendship” benefits, Based on who PHL 150 21&22 Page 9 usefulness. that person is. Both must be virtuous.  Someone  People you go  You want of money, out with. what is car.  “fun” people. best for  Friends  Boyfriend/girlfri your with useful friends=fo end r them to skills relationships. (mechanics  YOUNG PEOPLE be happy. ). MAKE THESE  RARE  Connection KIND OF  You must s: social + be good to FRIENDS. professiona  Friends with be a good l. benefits. friend.  Work  From relationshi virtue we ps can build a  Roommate s friendship.  OLD PEOPLE MAKE THESE KIND OF FRIENDS: PHL 150 21&22 Page 10 Incidental to character  Would Aristotle agree with the claim that “opposites attract” when it comes to “perfect friendships”? why or why not? Aristotle says that opposites do not attract. To have a perfect friendship friends must be the same and they both must be virtuous, that’s the only way they can make a perfect friendship together. PHL 150 21&22 Page 11


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