The core of this course is an in-depth reading of key parts of the Nicomachean Ethics. We will pay special attention to how Aristotle’s concept of moral virtue/excellence is connected to the peculiar cognitive achievements of the practical intellect, which backs up our moral conduct, how this leads to Aristotle’s dual conception of human flourishing, or happiness, and how friendship and social integration is also part of the framework of Aristotle’s ethical outlook. A further key consideration throughout will be how Aristotle’s ethics integrates with his natural philosophy, theory of the soul, and his metaphysics, and how these ground his criticism of Socrates’ and Plato’s moral philosophy, and that part of Plato’s metaphysics which Plato presents in support of his ethics and political philosophy.
Students will give a presentation in class. They will have to take part in the perusall discussions of the assigned texts, write two short (c. 750-word long) position papers, and a 2,000-word term paper