PHIL-P140 Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Book I Notes
PHIL-P140 Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Book I Notes PHIL-P 140
Popular in Introduction to Ethics
Popular in Department
One Day of Notes
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
CSCI A110: Intro to Computers and Computing
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kathryn Brinser on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL-P 140 at Indiana University taught by Daniel Linsenbardt in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views.
Reviews for PHIL-P140 Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Book I Notes
Report this Material
What is Karma?
Karma is the currency of StudySoup.
You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!
Date Created: 10/02/16
P140 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book I Notes- Happiness 9-21-16 Chapter 1- Ends and Goods Actions/decisions always seek some good Different ends (goals) possible o Highest ends- ends in themselves; desired for their own sakes o Lesser ends- means to higher ends; products apart from other acts Highest ends considered highest good Chapter 2- The Highest Good and Political Science Suppose there is some end we want to achieve because of nothing but itself o We do not choose things because of other things o This end is the best good o Knowledge of highest good makes us more capable of achieving it Studying goodness part of political science- dictates which lesser sciences should be studied in what contexts o Politics wants to achieve highest ends for people- includes use of other sciences, states what should be done and avoided o Good of the many > good of individuals; collective good greater/more complete Find and good to preserve individual goods; better, more divine to preserve collective (for peoples/cities) Chapter 3- The Method of Political Science Political science- not empirical science; essentially moral philosophy (discipline that discerns what is good for “the city”) o Ethics not an exact method- often uncertain, hard to figure out, not always true o Not subjective, but what is objectively true can be variable and difficult to identify o Can only get rough idea of highest good o Best thing for each person can be different (goods for some can hurt others) o Claims about what is good should be taken as usually true Good judge on given topic- person educated in that subject Unqualified good judge- person educated on everything Youth cannot learn moral philosophy o Have not lived enough to have experience- cannot know about claims/arguments about goods and happiness o Tend to act on feelings o Does not necessarily depend on age- could be immaturity, meaning knowledge about topic does not serve him a benefit 1 o Must be brought up in good moral standing/given “fine habits” (fine = worthy of moral praise), young people do not have them yet Chapter 4- Common Beliefs Since actions pursue some good, must identify end of political science (highest good possible) o Eudaimonia- “flourishing,” living well; happiness in broader sense o People agree happiness is highest good, disagree about what makes happiness Ideas can change given circumstances- pleasure, wealth, heath, friendship, etc. According to “the wise,” there is some highest good, existing independently, that makes all other goods good 1 Start with ordinary ideas of goodness (“things known to us” ), see what happens when applying to more theoretical ideas o Must have belief something is true (could be a priori) o Must have been brought up well, learned fine habits from others Chapter 5- The Three Lives Life of gratification- typically preferred by “the many”; involves pleasure, considered animal- like Life of political activity- chosen by educated people; seen as honor 1 o Depends more on “those who honor than on the one honored” o Pursued to convince oneself he/she is good o Want to be honored by friends for virtue (seen as superior to honor) o Virtue is not the end of politics- can be virtuous and inactive or go through misfortunes Life of study- not having to do with wealth; must have end-in-itself Chapter 7- An Account of the Human Good 1 1 Highest good is “complete without qualification” (end in itself), “most choiceworthy” (we choose it over any other good), self-sufficient (do not need to add anything to make it better) o Clarification: self-sufficien≠ being happy in isolation; need other people and goods to be happy o More than just bodily/sensual pleasures and growing/getting nutrition- humans have higher ends than animals and plants o Different in each area of life (ie. medicine, soldier life, etc.) o Something for the sake of which we do other actions “…if there is some end of everything achievable in action, the good achievable in action will be this end” o If more than one complete end exists, we want most complete one o Claim: everyone will be able to agree that happiness satisfies all 3 properties above We choose happiness for itself, not anything else Can choose virtues (ie. honor, pleasure, understanding) for themselves, but also for happiness (less complete ends) Happiness does not lack anything- self-sufficient Not considered one good among many other equal ones- most choiceworthy Enough to state some principles without explaining why they are so o Do not need same degree of exactness in all areas (ie. mathematicians studying right angles vs. carpenters using them without inquiring further) The Function Argument o Ex. Body parts like ears have functions; what makes an ear good is doing its function (hearing) well Hearing is its essential function- main purpose; what it was made to do by nature Goodness of things linked to fulfilling their main purposes o (1) Highest good for beings is doing their essential functions well o (2) From (1), highest good for human beings is doing their essential functions well o (3) Highest good for humans is happiness o (4) From (2) and (3), happiness for humans is essential function of humans functioning well o (5) Essential function of humans is reason-based use of soul (mind)- thinking rationally about how to act and acting as such o (6) From (4) and (5), humans have happiness when their ability to think rationally and act that way is functioning well o (7) Fulfilling a function well means to do it in virtuous way o (8) From (6) and (7), humans have happiness when they think rationally about how to act and act rationally and virtuously Chapter 8- Defense of the Account of Good 3 types of goods- external, of the soul (most complete), of the body o Actions are ends, if those ends are goods of the soul instead of external Happy people live well- living/doing well is an end Features of happiness that people identify match with earlier claims o Can be seen as virtue, prudence, wisdom, pleasure, prosperity, etc. o Some views held by masses, others by wise few; no one view completely wrong, but one can be right on most accounts over other(s) Happiness is virtue (in general or regarding particular virtue) o “…activity in accord with virtue is proper to virtue” o Difference between having and using virtue- only people who act virtuously get rewarded (moral praise?) Life of virtuous, active person is pleasant- pleasure is condition of soul o People not pleasant by nature- pleasing things differ o Virtuous actions pleasant by nature (without qualification) o Do not need pleasure to be added from other sources Person not good if he/she does not enjoy doing good things (ie. being 1enerous, acting justly) o Just actions “good, fine, and pleasant more than anything else is” Need complete life to develop virtues o Being virtuous requires work- not easy to be happy, given that happiness based on virtue o Need surrounding circumstances to allow happiness- external goods like health, money, friends, political power, etc. o Happiness does not depend only on being good person- need other things to live best possible life o Cannot be virtuous, good person without external goods; cannot do just actions without resources Chapter 9- How is Happiness Achieved? Reasonable to have happiness innately- highest human good Better to say happiness results from virtue and learning; intention of virtue is still divine even if happiness not given to all humans by divine beings o Anyone without damaged capability to develop virtues can be happy o Better than happiness due to fortune o Does not seem right to leave finest good to chance/fortune o Happiness is activity of soul in accordance with virtue (ie. not up to fortune) o Do not regard animals or children as happy- cannot take virtuous actions Life has many changes in fortune; suffering large misfortunes (like Priam losing his son in Trojan stories) means one cannot be happy Chapter 10- Can We Be Happy During Our Lifetime? Solon: wait until end of someone’s life to judge if he was happy in lifetime o Aristotle: being happy after death seems absurd; happiness considered activity o Do not say someone is happy after death, but when someone dies, we can say he was happy before death assuming he no longer experiences misfortune o Arguable claim; dead people can receive honor/dishonor that affects descendants and family Even if someone lives virtuously and dies, descendants can still go through misfortunes o Dead person’s condition should not change along with fortunes of the living; would lead to differing conclusions on whether he was happy in lifetime We suppose happiness not prone to change, though fortunes in life change o If we decide whether someone was happy in life based on fortunes, we would call him happy sometimes and unhappy other times o Doing well or not does not depend on fortunes; should not base conclusions on them Most honorable virtue endures more than others o Virtuous people more committed to them o Happy people have stability, keep characteristics throughout life People can still be virtuous if bad things happen to them, but not major misfortunes (result in being too sad to be happy) Minor misfortunes do not affect happiness; uses conclusion of function argument to show why o Virtues are stable- hard for virtuous person to lose virtuous character traits; so, hard for someone to lose their happiness; so minor misfortunes do not affect happiness o Virtuous people strong enough to go on in life of virtue even if fortune changes; since happiness based on virtue, happy person can deal with minor misfortunes Chapter 11- How Happiness Can Be Affected After One’s Death Considering lives as wholes, not just moments, suggests people can only be happy after death o Aristotle: after death, honors/dishonors and behavior of children do not significantly affect happiness Some misfortunes greater than others o Matters whether they affect living or dead people o Leads to considering whether dead can experience good/evil o Good/evil affecting dead, even if not small, not enough to change happiness/misery of living Chapter 12- Praise and Honor Temporarily consider happiness as deserving of praise instead of honor o Praise is for “character and…state in relation to something” 1 o Praise good/virtuous person because of actions and characteristics that relate to good things Praise depends on reference to things like happiness- greatest things get something more than praise o Gods, holy people counted as blessed o Happiness is similar- do not praise like other things (ie. justice); count it as something more divine than things deserving of praise o Give praise to virtue- makes us do just things Conclusion: happiness is honorable and complete principle which we center all actions around achieving Chapter 13- Introduction to the Virtues Human virtue- of the soul (mind); happiness is activity of the soul o Political scientists must know about soul to examine virtue Soul has rational and irrational parts o Rational- controls impulses; virtuous person with more rationality has better control Directs us toward right thing o Nonrational- nutrition, growth (vegetative aspect) and general desires (appetitive aspect); not much to do with virtue Common to all organisms; not human Does not differentiate between good/bad Has small part in rationality- obeys reason, does not give reasons o Categories/divisions of virtues aligns with differences in parts of soul Virtues of thought- wisdom, comprehension, prudence Virtues of character- generosity, temperance Work Cited 1Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics: Translated, with Introduction, Notes, and Glossary, by Terence Irwin. Second Edition. 1999, United States of America.
Are you sure you want to buy this material for
You're already Subscribed!
Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'