Fall 2020

Seminar: Aristotle’s Ethics

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-454


Jyl Gentzler (Section 01)


Aristotle begins his Nicomachean Ethics by observing that whenever we act, we want to accomplish some goal.  We assume that our goals are worthwhile, but are they really?  What makes anything worth pursuing?  Aristotle’s answer is “eudaimonia” (happiness or well-being): all of us want to be happy, and we do what we do in order to be happy.  However, on Aristotle’s view, few of us have a clear understanding of what it really means to live a good life.  Aristotle’s Ethics is devoted to help us to achieve this understanding. In this seminar we will reflect on the ways in which Aristotle challenges many of our deepest assumptions about who we are and how best to live our lives.  We will examine and discuss his arguments and our own, both in conversation with one another and in our own philosophical writing. This course can be used to satisfy either the “Figure and Movement” or the “Seminar” requirements for the major in Philosophy, but not both.

Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Gentzler. 

If Overenrolled: Priority will be given to majors, seniors, then juniors, etc.


Attention to Writing


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020