PHI 44 — Aristotle's Ethics: Politics, Community, and the Path to a Happy Life
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Mar 30—Jun 1
Time: 6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 1
Instructor(s): Katherine Kretler
How should I live? What should I do to live a happy life? What does happiness have to do with ethics? What might the best human life look like? What kind of friendships contribute to happiness and to justice? What is “virtue ethics” and how might it inform current debates about the environment and about identity? In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle offers us a vision of human flourishing that has nurtured thinkers for thousands of years and continues to shape political and ethical thinking. In this course, we read and reflect upon the Ethics, and upon our own lives, individual and communal. Aristotle's distinctively communal vision of happiness, in which politics is "for living well," contrasts with philosophical schools (like Stoicism) that encourage us to focus strictly on what is up to us as individuals. We will draw on excerpts from Aristotle’s other works, such as On the Soul, the Politics, and the Rhetoric, to flesh out his vision of the good life. Finally, we will see how Aristotle’s method serves as a resource for thinkers wrestling with such urgent issues as how to ground a proper relationship with the environment and with our fellow citizens.
Katherine Kretler, Classics Faculty, Pierrepont School; Former Lecturer, Structured Liberal Education Program, StanfordKatherine Kretler specializes in ancient Greek literature and philosophy and is the author of One Man Show: Poetics and Presence in the Iliad and Odyssey. She has taught Classics in the original Greek and in translation at the University of Chicago, Dartmouth, and in Canada at Concordia University and Queen’s University. Kretler received a PhD from the University of Chicago.
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Aristotle; Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins, trans., Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (ISBN 9780226026756)