Aristotle’s Ethics: What is a Good Life?
We will spend six sessions doing a fairly close reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, one of the central philosophical works attempting to make sense of the question “what is a good life?” We will also take a look at some commentary on the attempt from a number of contemporary thinkers.
We are fortunate to have two “professional” philosophers from Dartmouth’s faculty joining us:
Christine Thomas, for a session on Aristotle and Plato; and Timothy Rosenkoeeter, for a session on Aristotle and Kant.
Aristotle posits a concept called “the good” and states that it is somehow the goal of human life. We will explore this and see if we can make any sense of what on its face seems a preposterous claim - that there is a single “good” for humans, and that, in some sense, that good could be attainable.
You don’t need any background in philosophy or Greek or anything else to participate, but you do need to be willing to read pretty closely and think along with Aristotle. There isn’t any “handy dandy” answer to be gleaned from this work, nothing you can put on a 3” x 5” card. Aristotle’s Ethics is among the most important Western efforts at addressing the question.
There will be an optional reading packet and required textbooks for this course.
JOSEPH RONAN is a practicing lawyer with an office in Norwich who has law degrees from NYU Law School, as well as a B.A. in philosophy from Haverford College, and an M.A. in English from Rutgers. He views Aristotle as one of the most challenging thinkers available to us, and is happy to engage with people who are interested in Aristotle’s thought.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth requires an annual membership to participate in classes. Membership fees are either $105 (expires June 30, 2019) or $70 (expires June 30, 2018).