The Moral of The Story An Introduction to Ethics

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Give an account of who Aristotle was

Son of a physician, (student) drawn to platos academy. Taught Alexandria the great, taught at the lyceum


What is the relation between virtue and excellence?

They are the same


What is Teleology?

The concept of purpose


Do all things for Aristotle have a telos?



How do we find out what the telos of something is?

Investigate what the thing in question what it does best.


What are the four causes? Explicate

  1. MATERIAL CAUSE: the stuff the thing is made of
  2. Efficient cause: the force that had brought it into being
  3. Formal cause: the shape or idea (form) if the thing
  4. Final cause: thre purpose of the thing

Which is the most important? Why?

final cause, because it allows us to understand the purpose of a thing


Do human beings have a purpose?

Yes, to reason


What of the individual?

Find what the person does best


The group? Explicate.

Actualize, investigate what the creature or person does best, better than any other


What are the two forms of virtues Aristotle discusses? Explicate.

Intellectual and moral.

Moral: when our souls is trying to control our desires

Intellectual: when it concentrates on intellectual and spiritual matters


What is inscribed over the Oracle of Delphi? (Both inscriptions.) What do they mean in terms of Aristotle’s ethics?

Know thyself and nothing in excess,

responding to a situation at the right time, in the right way, in the right amount, for the right reason, not too much, not too little


What is the Golden Mean?

Moderation ( the average)


How do we find the mean?

It takes a full commitment, involving the entire personality, over a lifetime of training


If someone is in danger, what are the three ways the text describes that we can act? (Hint: Courage).

With too little courage, (in which case hes a coward)

With the right amount of courage or with too much courage ( in which case he is being foolhardy)


Does the text say that Aristotle is an ethical relativist? Why/why not?

Yes, because virtue is in a sense, relative to the situation


What does the text say is a better description of Aristotle and why does it call him that?

A soft universalist, albeit with values of his day and age:


What is the highest realizable good for Aristotle?

To live well, to be happy, to do well,


For Aristotle, does seeking pleasure alone make one happy? Why/why not?

No, If we rely too much on pleasures, we'll find that they cease to give us a thrill after a while, so pleasure can't be the same as happiness


What does it take for Aristotle to be truly happy?

Must be steadfast, the life of the thinker, life of contemplation


What can make us the happiest?

For a persons life to have fulfilled its purpose


What does this have to do with the purpose of the human being?

? Everything has its own purpose


What happened to Aristotle’s works after Emperor Justinian in 529 C.E. closed the Lyceum?

Fled to Persia


Who kept Aristotle’s works and his research alive?

Arabic scholars


How, by whom, did they get reintroduced into the West?

Saint Thomas Aquinas


How was Aristotle’s concept of Teleology influential to the Catholic tradition? (Hint: natural law).

(Everything has a purpose)

  1. We are obliged to preserve our own lives
  2. We are obliged to procreate within marriage
  3. We are obliged to live as good citizens among other people
  4. We are obliged to seek knowledge primarily about God and his creation
  1. Discuss Aristotle's 3 types of friendships as presented in Book VIII chapters 1-5 of the Nicomachean Ethics.
  2. Bonus question 3 ways we love things

Pleasure (friends hanging out, playing pool)not everything seems to be loved but only the lovable, and this is good, pleasant, or useful; but it would seem to be that by which some good or pleasure is produced that is useful, so that it is the good and the useful that are lovable as ends.

Usefulness ( helping one another, one doing and the other joins in to help) Now the useful is not permanent but is always changing. Thus when the motive of the friendship is done away, the friendship is dissolved, inasmuch as it existed only for the ends in question. This kind of friendship seems to exist chiefly between old people (for at that age people pursue not the pleasant but the useful) and, of those who are in their prime or young, between those who pursue utility.

True love - friendship over a long period of time, must be virtuous, have similar virtues, can still be pleasurable and useful to one another.

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing.

(no matter how old you get or how far you drift you still remain the best of friends and never grow apart)


What is the difference between how Plato and Aristotle understand the Forms?

Platos forms are in the mind

Aristotle forms are in things


What is the difference between how Plato and Aristotle approach the senses?

Aristotle opened up the possibility of scientific, logical, empirical thinking known as natural science,

Plato believed forms are not material, but if the mind and intellect, Plato believed that concepts had a universal form, an ideal form, which leads to his idealistic philosophy


How does this effect empirical research? Explicate their positions.

- gathering evidence, making hypothesis, and testing theories on the basis of experience

Aristotle thinking forms being separate to being inseparable from the thing or the experience


ta meta ta physic

Book after physics



Public house track



Goal or purpose



Love of





gnothi seauton

Know thy self


maeden agan

Nothing in excess


solid do gloria

The honor (glory) is God's alone