|ARISTOTLE (V5023), AUTUMN TERM, 2007
Tutor: Gordon Finlayson (Room B340)
Office Hour: Thurs: 12-1p.m.
Aims: This Course will Introduce you to, and provide an overview of a selection of Aristotle’s thought. You will learn about Aristotle’s views on ‘nature’, on human nature, and on things that are, so to speak beyond nature.
Objectives: To introduce you to Aristotle’s Theoretical and Practical philosophy, in particular his Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics.
Lectures begin in week 1. Russell Building 24,
Seminars begin in Week 2. BH 231.
Attendance at lectures and seminars is obligatory. Attendance will be monitored. The lectures in this course will be lectures on the seminar topics which will deal with material that is challenging and not always straightforward.
Assessment: Assessment for this course is by Dissertation. See the Philosophy B.A. Assessment page for details. One (compulsory) but unassessed essay is due by the end of week 6, and a plan for your dissertation is to be submitted and approved by me in week 10.
Introductory Reading for the course. (See Week One below).
Jonathan Barnes, Aristotle, Oxford, 1982
Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction , Oxford, OUP 2000.
Or Ackrill, J.L. Aristotle the Philosopher, Oxford, 1981.
The set text for this course is A New Aristotle Reader, ed. J. Ackrill. Students must acquire a copy of this work, which contains all the primary texts we shall be studying. J. Lear’s Aristotle: The Desire to Understand is a good general work on Aristotle, which will serve as useful preliminary reading. (Chapter 3 can be omitted.)
I have divided the Reading into three categories
A: Essential Primary Literature. Read all of this.
B: Essential Secondary Literature. Read all of this if you can. Begin with the first article on the list. If there is no available electronic source I will generally make a photocopy available in a folder outside my room in Arts B 340. Photocopy and return it to the folder.
C: Further Reading. This is a longer list of literature to help you to research the topic. It is not exhaustive. You should search for relevant reading using the excellent resources in the University Library.
N.B. The library is a valuable resource for all of us - staff and students both, at the University of Sussex. We are all part of a research community. The library resource only works if the books and journals are re-shelved in the correct location. So when you consult a book in the library, or take a journal and photocopy it, please take the trouble to re-shelve it in the correct location, so your fellow students and your teachers can also find and use it. Do not just leave it lying around.
Week One: Introduction to Aristotle.
Introduction to Aristotle’s World, his Thought and Teleological view of Nature.
The task for Week I is to get into Aristotle. Read an Introduction to Aristotle. Either, Jonathan Barnes, Aristotle, Oxford, 1982, reprinted as Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, OUP 2000; or Ackrill, J.L. Aristotle the Philosopher, Oxford, 1981.
Topic One (Week 2): “Cause” “Because" and “Why”
A: Physics II 3-7; VIII.6,10. Met VI.2, V.4, I. Meteorology IV.12.
B: M.Hocutt:. “Aristotle’s Four Becauses”, Philosophy, 49.
J Lear, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, pp.26-43.
1. What are the four ‘causes’?
2. What is the relation between ‘formal’ and ‘final’ ‘causes’?
4. What is the relation between ‘final’ and ‘efficient’ causation?
5. Why does change, as such, need explaining?
C: Further Reading:
V. Politis, Aristotle and the Metaphysics, Ch 2
J. L. Ackrill, Aristotle the Philosopher, Ch 3
T. Irwin, Aristotle's First Principles, ch. 5 [N485 Irw]
C. Witt, Substance and Essence in Aristotle, Chs 3 and 4
R. Sorabji, Necessity, Cause and Blame, part 3 [B491.N4 Sor]
D. Furley, ‘What kind of Cause is Aristotle’s Final Cause?’, in M. Frede and G. Striker, eds., Rationality in Greek Thought
A. Gotthelf: “Aristotle's Conception of Final Causality”, Review of Metaphysics 30.
R. Hankinson, Ch 4 in Cambridge Companion to Aristotle
D. Charles, ‘Teleological Causation in the Physics’, in L. Judson, ed., Aristotle’s Physics
M. Frede, 'The Original Notion of Cause' in Schofield, Burnyeat, and Barnes, eds., Doubt and Dogmatism [B505 Dou]; and in his Essays in Ancient Philosophy [B171 Fre]
Wieland, 'The Problem of Teleology', in Barnes, Schofield and Sorabji, eds., Articles on Aristotle, vol 1. [B485 Art]
A. Gotthelf in Review of Metaphysics 1976
C. D. C. Reeve, Substantial Knowledge, Ch 5 (check references to technical terms in the index)
J.L. Ackrill: ‘Aristotle’s Distinction Between energeia and kinesis’ in New Essays on
Plato and Aristotle, ed. R. Bamborough
A. Kosman: ‘Aristotle’s Definition of Motion’, Phronesis 1969
R. Sokolowski: ‘Matter, Elements and Substance in Aristotle’, J Hist Phil 1970.
S. Waterlow: Nature, Change and Agency in Aristotle’s Physics, Ch 3.
Essay Question: To what extent does Aristotle’s teleology effect his account of causal explanation?
Topic Two (Week 3): Aristotle’s Early Account of Substance
A: Aristotle: Categories, 1-5; Topics, 1.9
Aristotle: Categories and De Interpretatione, ed. J. Ackrill (for the commentary)
B: J. Lear, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, Ch 6. 1-5
V. Politis, Aristotle and the Metaphysics, Ch 4.4
1. What are the ‘categories’?
2. What is the point of distinguishing between the categories?
3. What is the connection between Aristotle’s theory of categories and his worries about Plato’s theory of forms?
4. What is the difference between being ‘in’ and being ‘said of’?
5. What are the marks of substance according to the Categories?
C: Further Reading:
Jones, B. 1975. “An Introduction to the First Five Chapters of Aristotle's Categories”
Phronesis 20: 146-172.
D. Graham, Aristotle’s Two Systems (first part)
F. Lewis, Substance and Predication in Aristotle, Part I
T. Irwin, Aristotle’s First Principles, ch 3
R. E. Allen, “Substance and Predication in Aristotle's Categories”, in E.Lee et al,
Exegesis and Argument
Gillespie, “The Aristotelian Categories”, in Barnes et al, Articles on Aristotle 3
M. Frede: “Categories in Aristotle” in his Essays in Ancient Philosophy
M. Wedin, Aristotle’s Theory of Substance, chs 1-3
Essay Question: What is the theory of substance presented in the Categories?
Topic Three (Week 4) Substance in the Metaphysics
A: Aristotle, Metaphysics, Z (VII), H (VIII) (with Bostock's commentary)
B: G. Patzig: “Theology and Ontology in Aristotle’s Metaphysics”, in J. Barnes et al,
Articles on Aristotle, vol. 3.
V. Politis, Aristotle and the Metaphysics, Ch 7
J. Lear, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, Ch 6. 6-8
1. What are the complications created by the matter-form (‘hylomorphic’) conception of things?
2. What is the apparent paradox which Aristotle seems to be committed to?
3. What is the relation between form and essence?
4. What is the relation between substance and form?
5. Are forms universal?
B.Brody: “Why Settle for Anything Less Than Good Old-fashioned Aristotelian Essentialism?” Noûs
C. Witt, Substance and Essence in Aristotle, Ch 5
D. Graham, Aristotle’s Two Systems (second part)
M. Frede, 'Substance in Aristotle's Metaphysics', in his Essays on Ancient Philosophy [B171 Fre]
M. Frede, 'Individuals in Aristotle', in his Essays etc.
J. Barnes, Ch 3 in Cambridge Companion to Aristotle
R. Dancy, 'On Some of Aristotle's Second Thoughts on Substance', Philosophical Review 1978
F. Lewis, Substance and Predication in Aristotle, Part IV [B491.M4 Lew]
Hartman, Substance, Body, and Soul, Chs 1-2 [B491.S8 Har]
T. Irwin, Aristotle's First Principles, Chs 10-12 [B485 Irw]
Mansion, 'The Ontological Composition of Sensible Substances in Aristotle (Metaphysics VII 7-9)', in Barnes, Schofield and Sorabji, Articles on Aristotle 3 [B485 Art]
M. Woods, 'Substance and Essence in Aristotle', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1974-5
G. E. M. Anscombe, 'The Principle of Individuation', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 1953; and in Barnes, Schofield and Sorabji 3
W. Sellars, 'Substance and form in Aristotle', Journal of Philosophy 1957
R. Albritton, 'Forms of Particular Substances in Aristotle's Metaphysics', Journal of Philosophy 1957
Lloyd, 'Aristotle's Principle of Individuation', Mind 1970
W. Charlton, 'Aristotle and the Principle of Individuation', Phronesis 1972
M. Woods, 'Problems in Metaphysics F Chapter 13', in Moravcsik, ed., Aristotle: a Collection of Critical Essays [B485 Mor]
LeBlond, 'Aristotle on Definition', in Barnes, Schofield and Sorabji
T. Scaltas: ‘Substratum, Subjects and Substance’, Ancient Philosophy 1985.
M. L. Gill, Aristotle on Substance: The Paradox of Unity [B491.M3 Gil],
M. Wedin, Aristotle’s Theory of Substance, Chs 4-9
C. D. C. Reeve, Substantial Knowledge, Chs 1, 5, and 6
Essay Question: Can a consistent account of substance be found in the Metaphysics?
Topic Four (Week 5): Eudaimonia and ‘Function’
A: Nichomachean Ethics: I.1-5, 7-12;X.6-8. Politics VII 1-3.
B: J. L. Ackrill, "Aristotle on Eudaimonia", in Rorty ed. Essays on Aristotle's Ethics, University of California Press, 1980, 15-35. (Originally in Proceedings of the British Academy 60 (1974)), 339-359. )
J. Lear, Aristotle, the Desire to Understand, Ch 5 [B491.L8 Lea]
Richard Kraut, "Two Conceptions of Happiness", Philosophical Review, 88/2, 1979 pp. 167-197.
1. What is eudaimonia?
2. Is there a single end of action?
3. Does Aristotle think eudaimonia is a ‘dominant’ or an ‘inclusive’ end?
4. Is the 'function argument' sound?
C: Further Reading on Aristotle on Eudaimonia and 'Function'
J. Annas, The Morality of Happiness, ch. 3 "Nature and Mere Nature" pp. 142-159.
Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, Books I, II, and VIII (with Woods's commentary)
S. Broadie, Ethics with Aristotle, Ch 1 [B491.E7 Bro]
D. Bostock, Aristotle’s Ethics, Chs
A. Kenny, 'Aristotle on Happiness', in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1965-6; and (rewritten) in Barnes, Schofield and Sorabji, eds., Articles on Aristotle 2
T. Nagel, 'Aristotle on Eudaimonia', Phronesis1972; and in Rorty, ed., Essays on Aristotle's Ethics [B430 Ess]
K. Wilkes, 'The Good Man and the Good for Man in Aristotle's Ethics', Mind 1978, and in Rorty, ed.
J. L. Ackrill, 'Aristotle on Eudaimonia', Proceedings of the British Academy 1974, and in Rorty, ed.
T. Irwin, 'The Metaphysical and Psychological Basis of Aristotle's Ethics', in Rorty, ed.
J. McDowell, 'The Role of Eudaimonia in Aristotle's Ethics', in Rorty, ed.
Cooper, Reason and Human Good in Aristotle, Ch 2 [B491.E7 Coo]
Prichard, 'The Meaning of [Agathon] in the Ethics of Aristotle', in his Moral Obligation, 40-53 [B1451 Pri]; and in Moravcsik, ed., Aristotle: A Collection of Critical Essays [B485 Mor]
C. D. C. Reeve, Practices of Reason, Chs 3-4 [B430 Ree]
G. R. Lear, Happy Lives and the Highest Good, Chs 2 and 3
T. Engberg-Pedersen: Aristotle’s Theory of Moral Insight, Part I
R. Kraut, Aristotle on the Human Good, Chs 1, 2, 4, and 5
Essay Question: Does Aristotle Succeed in Showing that Happiness is the telos of human lives?
Topic Five (Week 6): Virtue and Character
A: Nichomachean Ethics: I. 13; II; III, VI. 1. 1138b18-34.
B: Sorabji, R. "Aristotle on the Role of Intellect in Virtue" in Rorty ed. 1980, pp. 201-221. (Originally in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, n.s. 1974 (1973-4), 107-129.
1. What is the doctrine of the mean?
2. What distinguishes the different virtues and vices?
3. Is virtue concerned with actions, or feelings, or both?
4. Is there always a too much and a too little in the case of (a) actions and (b) feelings?
5. What is the significance of making the concept of virtue central to a moral theory?
6. Are we responsible for our characters?
C: Further Reading:
Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, Book III
D. Bostock, Aristotle’s Ethics, Chs 2 and 5
J. Lear, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, Ch 5.3
L. A. Kosman, 'Being Properly Affected: Virtues and Feelings in Aristotle's Ethics', in Rorty, ed. [B430 Ess]
W. D. Hardie, 'Aristotle's Doctrine that Virtue is a "Mean"', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1964-5; and as Ch. 7 of his Aristotle's Ethical Theory [B491.E7 Har]; and in Barnes, Schofield, and Sorabji, eds., Articles on Aristotle 2 [B485 Art]
J. O. Urmson, 'Aristotle's Doctrine of the Mean', American Philosophical Quarterly 1973; and in Rorty, ed.
R. Hursthouse, 'A False Doctrine of the Mean', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1980-81
M. Burnyeat, 'Aristotle on Learning to be Good', in Rorty, ed.
D. Pears, 'Courage as a Mean', in Rorty, ed.
B. Williams, 'Justice as a Virtue', in Rorty, ed.
J. Cooper, ‘Reason, Moral Virtue, and Moral Value’, in M. Frede and G. Striker, eds., Rationality in Greek Thought
G. R. Lear, Happy Lives and the Highest Good, Chs 6 and 7
R. Kraut, Aristotle on the Human Good, Chs 3 and 6
Essay Question: Does Aristotle give a convincing account of virtue?
Topic Six (Week 7): Phronesis, Practical Deliberation and akrasia
A: Nichomachean Ethics: III2-4; VI.
B: Wiggins, D. "Deliberation and Practical Reason" in Rorty ed. 1980, pp. 221-241. (Originally in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, n.s. 1976 (1975-6), 29-51.
J. Lear, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, pp.164-174.
Richard Kraut, "Aristotle's Ethics", Stanford Enclyclopedia of Philosophy.
1. Is phronesis (practical wisdom) concerned only with ‘means’ to ends, or also with ends?
2. Does practical wisdom include more than deliberation?
3. What is the role of perception or intuition in Aristotle's account of phronesis (practical wisdom)?
4. What is the practical syllogism?
5. Is Aristotle's account of akrasia intelligible?
6. Is Aristotle’s account of akrasia an improvement on (or even really different from) that of Socrates?
7. Can Aristotle distinguish between akrasia and the sort of ignorance which he claimed (in III.1) removed blameworthiness?
Essay Question: In what sense, if any, does Aristotle think that virtue is a kind of knowledge?
Topic Seven (Week 8): Political animals and their natural sociability.
A: Nichomachean Ethics X. 8-9; Politics I. 1-7. III.1-4.VII
B: ‘Does Aristotle’s Polis exist ‘by nature’? K. Cherry and E.A. Goerner, History of Political Thought, Volume 27, Number 4, 2006 , pp. 563-585(23). Available on-line @ http://tinyurl.com/34q4h8
Kullmann, W. ‘Man as a Political Animal’ in Keyt D. and Miller F.D. eds. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle’s Politics.
1. What is the meaning of Aristotle’s claim that "man is by nature a political animal"?
2. What does Aristotle mean when he says that the state exists by nature? Does it?
3. What are the most significant ramifications of this view for his political theory?
4. What are the different kinds of constitution and how does Aristotle rank them?
5. What status does the constitution/régime have according to Aristotle’s metaphysics, and his teleological conception of nature.
6. What are the different kinds of constitutions and on according to what criteria does Aristotle order them.
7. How does Aristotle define demokratia? What are the conditions in which it ought to thrive?
8. What, according to Aristotle, is the role of women in a polis?
9. Does Aristotle say that political participation is necessary to achieve eudaimonia? Does he mean participation in the community or participation in government?
C: Further Reading
A.C. Bradley, ‘Aristotle’s Conception of the State’ in Keyt D. and Miller F.D. eds. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle’s Politics.
Keyt, D. ‘Three Basic Theorems’ in Keyt D. and Miller F.D. eds. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle’s Politics.
David J. Depew, ‘Humans and other political animals in Aristotle’s History of Animals’, Phronesis: A journal for Ancient Philosophy, Volume 40,Number 2, 1995pp. 156-181(26). Available on-line @ http://tinyurl.com/ypb6g3
J. Barnes et al (eds) Articles on Aristotle Vol 2. Ethics and Politics.
E. Barker, The Political Theory of Plato and Aristotle
C. Lord and D. O`Connor (eds) Essays on the Foundations of Aristotelian Political Science
Kraut, R. Aristotle: Political Philosophy. Oxford University Press (17 Jan 2002) ISBN-10: 0198782004 ISBN-13: 978-019878200
Miller, F.D. Nature, Justice Rights in Aristotle’s Politics, Oxford (1991).
R.G. Mulgan, Aristotle`s Political Theory
Critically Assess Aristotle’s view that the state (polis) exists by nature?
Topic Eight (Week 9): Contemplation and Action: The Bios Theoretikos and the Bios Praktikos
A: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, I, 1-8 X, 6-8
Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, VIII
B: Lear, J. The Desire to Understand, ‘Mind’s place outside nature’ 6.7 pp. 293-320
D. Charles, ‘Aristotle on Well-Being and Intellectual Contemplation’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Vol 73 (1999)
1. Does Aristotle give good reason to think that the good life is the life of contemplation?
2. Is Aristotle’s conception of moral virtue in Book X consistent with his view of it in the rest of the NE?
3. What is the relation between moral virtue and contemplation?
4. Is the value of contemplation relevant to ethics?
G. Hughes, Aristotle on Ethics, Ch 3
D. Bostock, Aristotle’s Ethics, Ch 9
J. Cooper, Reason and Human Good in Aristotle, Ch III
G. R. Lear, Happy Lives and the Highest Good, Ch 8
D. Charles, ‘Aristotle on Well-Being and Intellectual Contemplation’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Vol 73 (1999)
D. Scott, ‘Aristotle on Well-Being and Intellectual Contemplation’, as for Charles
A. Rorty, 'The Place of Contemplation in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics', Mind 1978, and (rewritten) in Rorty, ed., Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics
R. Kraut, Aristotle on the Human Good, Chs 1 and 3
Essay Question: Is Aristotle’s identification of the good life with the life of contemplation (theoria) consistent with the main body of the Nicomachean Ethics?
Week 10. In week 10 I will make myself available to discuss your dissertation plans.