University of St Martin - Fall, 2006 - PHIL232

Monday, Sept. 11 - Aristotle (2)

Midterm Essay
Monday, Sept. 4 - What is philosophy?
Wednesday, Sept. 6 - Aristotle (1)
Monday, Sept. 11 - Aristotle (2)
Wednesday, Sept. 13 - Aristotle (3)
Monday, Sept. 18 - Nietzsche (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 20 - Nietzsche (2)
Monday, Sept. 26 - Abortion (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Abortion (2)
Excursus 1: Historical overview
Excursus 2: Abortion in Judaism and Christianity
Excursus 3: Abortion in Islam
Excursus 4: Pro-choice argument
Monday, Oct. 2 - Suicide (1)
Wednesday, Oct 4 - Revision
Monday, Oct 16 - Suicide (2)
Wednesday, Oct 18 - Paradigm shifts
Monday, Oct 23 - Brave New World (1)
Wednesday, Oct 25 - Philosophical Anthropology (1)
Monday, Oct 30 - Sexual History of the USA
Wednesday, Nov 1 - Philosophical Anthropology (2)
Monday, Nov 6 - Race, death, tragedy, and bad faith
Wednesday, Nov 8 - Race, Biology, and Culture
Monday, Nov 13 - Racism and culture
Wednesday, Nov 15 - Existentialism
Monday, Nov 20 - Political Obligation, Moral Duty, and Punishment
Wednesday, Nov 22 - Kant and Moral Obligation
Monday, Nov 27 - War and Peace
Wednesday, Nov 29 - Non-Western Philosophies (1)
Monday, Dec 4 - Non-Western Philosophies (2)
Wednesday, Dec 6 - The End
Final Paper

Guiding Q&A for the reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics:



Q. What is the good?

A. “(…) the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim (i.e. their telos).”


Q. Are all goods equal?

A. “Now, as there are many actions, arts, and sciences, their ends also are many.”




Q. What is higher: the personal good or the communal good?

A. “For even if the end is the same for a single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events something greater and more complete whether to attain or to preserve (…).”


Q. Why?

A. “(…) though it is worth while to attain the end merely for one man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nation or for city-states.”




Q. Why is it important to classify the objects of our inquiries?

A. To see whether you can reach either certainty or probability.


Q. What is the problem with the passions and the pursuit of the good?

A. Right judgement presupposes clear knowledge and the passions can obfuscate (or blur) the vision of the mind, letting us think that we are doing things because they are the right thing, while we are doing them only because we feel like it. People who are lead primarily by their passions cannot say that their actions are always the most rational. [Of course, several questions could be raised. For instance: How free can our intellect be from our emotions? Is it desirable that we always follow our “cold” intelligence?...]




Q. What is the telos of all human pursuit, according to Aristotle?

A. “(…) it is happiness,” identifying “living well and doing well with being happy.”

To think about       

"Any society that values creativity also needs to enable criticism. If we cannot question the way we are doing things and thinking about things at present, it will not occur to us that they could be thought of or done differently. (...) So philosophy is important partly because cultural criticism is so important."

CHRISTENSON, Tom (2001). Wonder and Critical Reflection. An invitation to Philosophy, p. 37. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.


This page was updated on Nov 21, 2006
at 10.00 PM St Martin Time (-4 UT)