Subject Philosophy General Philosophy


Respond to the following:

1.    Discuss the ‘function argument’ discussed by Aristotle in Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics. How, by this argument, does Aristotle arrive at his definition of Happiness?

2.    In Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defines Virtue of Character and discusses how it is developed. Define Virtue of Character and briefly discuss how it is developed. In Book II, section 4 of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle identifies three requirements for genuine virtue (“But surely actions are not enough…” – p. 22). Discuss each.

3.    In Book III section 1 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle draws a distinction between what he considers to be properly involuntary and a category of actions that he terms ‘non-voluntary’. First introduce the general category of involuntary actions. Next discuss the distinction between properly involuntary actions and those actions he terms ‘non-voluntary’ followed by a brief discussion of why Aristotle would add this distinction.

4.    Hobbes introduces a rather bleak account of Human Nature and describes the “natural condition of mankind” in detail. Briefly introduce each followed by a discussion of how, according to Hobbes, the state of nature (or the “natural condition of mankind”) arises as a consequence of his account of human nature.

5.    In Chapter 14, Hobbes distinguishes between the right of nature and the laws of nature. Define each. [note: I do not need a list of the laws of nature, but it would perhaps be good to introduce the first law] In this same section Hobbes introduces the idea of a covenant. Why are covenants important to Hobbes argument?

6.    Discuss the covenant that gives rise to the Common-Wealth introduced by Hobbes in Chapter 17 (being sure to cite the covenant itself, found on p. 227). Briefly discuss how this covenant, which establishes sovereign power, breaks down the distinction between public and private good in the person of the sovereign.

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Aristotle’s motivation for the ‘function argument’ is the search for an account of what is best or the most good for human beings – what constitutes the highest good for a person? One way to answer such a question would be to create a list of the things or states of being that would count as good and then attempt to order that list. But how would such a list be ordered? What would the criteria be? However, instead of attempting an ‘algorithm’ or procedure for ordering such a list, Aristotle chooses another direction: Perhaps the highest good for a person would be good—and thereby desirable—without reference to anything else; and, in some way, everything else that is good would be good and desirable because they involved or promoted the highest good, i.e. anything else which counts as good would do so because of the highest good.
Assume, then, that the highest good could be described in the more familiar terms of ‘living well’ or well-being – or happiness. Notice that this is a reasonable assumption (albeit an incredibly loaded, complex one). But, what is it for a human being to live well? Aristotle—in another critical assumption...

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