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Aristotle, Greek Philosopher (384-322 BC)

The ancients defined education, in the broadest sense, as training children in Ethics.  Plato, for example, taught that:

 

"The particular training in respect of pleasure and pain, which leads you always to hate what you ought to hate and to love what you ought to love from the beginning of life to the end...will be rightly called education."  (Laws 653)

 

Students in most schools today are expected to grow up into virtuous men and women without any formal training in Ethics.  This neglect is presumptuous and unprecedented in history. 

 

The Classical Liberal Arts Academy, in addition to our overall focus on intellectual and spiritual formation, provides a complete course in classical Ethics, studying Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in the fourth part of our classical Philosophy program

 

COURSE OVERVIEW


 

Aristotle's Ethics consists of ten books, all of which are studied in this year-long course.  The books do not divide evenly by topic, but cover the following seven subjects:

 

I.  The Good for Man
Students begin considering the question of what is good for man?  Aristotle discusses popular notions of good and explains the true definition of what is good for man:  happiness. 
II.  Moral Virtue

Aristotle explains the relative nature of moral virtue and defines moral virtue as the balance between opposite vices. 
III. Virtues and Vices

Students examine the individual virtues of Courage, Temperance and Justice as well as those virtues which relate to money, honor, anger and social relations.

IV.  Intellectual Virtue

Aristotle identifies and describes the chief intellectual virtues:  Science, Art, Practical Wisdom, Intuitive Reason, Philosophical Wisdom, Deliberation, Understanding and Judgment.
V.  Continence & Incontinence; Pleasure
Examination of Continence (Self-Control) and Incontinence and the various degrees of them as well as Self-Indulgence and Pleasure.
VI.  Friendship
Aristotle discusses the nature and importance of Friendship in the pursuit of happiness.  Students consider the kinds of friendship, the difference between loving and being loved, the origins of friendship and man's need for friendship.
VII.  Pleasure & Happiness
Lastly, Aristotle guides us through the distinction between Pleasure and Happiness.  In concluding the Ethics, Aristotle explains the relationship between Ethics and Politics.

COURSE AVAILABILITY


 

Ethics is studied in the fourth year of Philosophy.  As CLAA students currently make their way through the classical liberal arts curriculum in preparation for the study of Philosophy, we will be making this course available to students upon demand.  The first students are expected to begin Classical Ethics in 2010-12. 

 

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