Presentation on theme: "The Philosophers of Chapter 7"— Presentation transcript:
1The Philosophers of Chapter 7 Education-Graduation RateStudent EnrollmentHigher EdPlato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Emmanuel Levinas
2Plato (427-347 B.C.) Taught Aristotle “the Good” compared to the sun The sun as a source of light allows us to see all thingsThe good shines upon all our actions
3Nowhere do we find THE good, we only find good things. Beauty is found everywhere & in all things, but we don’t find BEAUTY ITSELF.The closest we can come to the good is in contemplation.We bask in the good, and it enters into our knowing.
4Philosophy is Important to Plato Philosophers are contemplatives of the goodTherefore, they are closest to the goodPhilosophers know how to act in accordance with their beliefs,They make true choices about the value & worth of their actionsThey have chosen the happiest life
5Philosophers are better Others are ruled by feelingsThey measure actions by enjoyment not valuePhilosophers choose particular actions because they are trueIn The Republic, the ideal state is ruled by the “philosopher king”
6Plato vs. Sophism Sophist ideas threatened to undermine morality Sophists proclaimed there could be no truth, all “so-called truth” is only opinionNo universal truth = no universal moral code
7Sophists Moral values only cultural or personal opinion Life is ruled by needs & desires, not reasonThe best life one of sensual pleasure (Callicles)Pointless to argue about the good in general
8For SophistsNeither goodness, nor justice exists on its own, there are only good people or just peopleThere was no need to think about moral principles or “the good”
9Plato’s responseThe thinking of the Sophists caused the state to deteriorate to a near-total moral collapsePrivate pleasures like greed satisfying elemental needs like food, drink, sex and power led to disorder and anarchyREASON which finds the good that pervades all is the answer!
10Aristotle ( B.C.)A major influence on Catholic teaching (via St. Thomas Aquinas)Agrees with PlatoAll aspire to some good and seek to be happyConcerned with short-sightedness of searching for happiness following instincts & sensual pleasuresPhilosophers most likely to succeed
11Aristotle differs from Plato Aristotle is more “down-to-earth”Plato’s idea of the good was too abstractPeople don’t find THE good, they find A good.Contemplation doesn’t lead to the IDEA of good, but to the good within all things
12For Aristotle It is important to know the nature of all things Hence his interest in science & politicsHumans are self-directed beings
13Aristotle“Young people can become mathematicians and geometers and wise in things of that sort; but they do not appear to become people of practical wisdom. The reason is that practical wisdom is of the particular, which becomes graspable through experience, but a young person is not experienced. For a quantity of time is required for experience.”
14Review of Aristotle & the Good Absolute good can only be found in God.Good is inscribed by God into the nature of all things.To find the good in anything: discover first its purpose, its end, what it is for
15Review continuedOne develops good character by acting virtuously, virtues control passions.Good is found in the middleThe mark of humanity: to reason and act rationallyEthical action engages capacity to reason.Highest happiness: live an ethical life
16St. Thomas Aquinas ( )Greek philosophy, especially Plato’s, had a strong influence on Christian moral thinking & theology until the 13th C.After the 11th C, Aristotle’s work became more well knownAquinas, a Dominican friar (O.P.) incorporated Aristotle’s ideas
17Aquinas Greatest works: Aquinas calls him “The Philosopher” Summa contra Gentiles,Summa theologicaBuild on his understanding of the work of AristotleAquinas calls him “The Philosopher”
18Aquinas agrees with Aristotle The ethical comes from the end that is inscribed in the nature of all creaturesWhat something is FOR is at the very core of what something IS.The desire for good is at a person’s core.God is the highest good!
19Some differencesFor Aquinas, God is Trinitarian (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit)The resurrection of Jesus and immortality of the human soul give a more refined notion of the end of human beingsPeople were made for happinessHappiness is the good life of a virtuous person
20Human HappinessNot exhausted with the good life on earth, there is a fuller happinessFound only in a loving vision of GodIn the resurrection as God’s pure gift
21Aquinas’ ethics has 2 levels Like Aristotle:good life living and acting wellGood life lived out of use of intelligence & other capacitiesGod’s self-gift to us in Jesus and the Holy Spirit changes the way we define the good
22Creation is good, to know how to use one’s intellectual and sensual capacities one must follow the natural law.“nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid.”
23Virtues are key! (the Cardinal Virtues) Prudence: how to reason well in moral decision-making.Temperance: how to remain moderate in the exercise of the emotionsFortitude: how to be courageous in the face of difficulties.Justice: how to act well in relation to others.
24Theological Virtues Faith: God’s self-revealing action Hope: desire for communion with GodCharity: (Love) God’s love for us, allows us to love others.
25Immanuel Kant ( )The most difficult notion of the good and happiness to follow?Recall: reason was very important in Kant’s time (the Enlightenment)No: kings, priests, churches, bibles, unless, reason could prove their right to authorityReason the sole authority!
26Kant rejects Aristotle & Aquinas For them, happiness is a by-product of doing good.Kant argued: people do good out of their DUTY to do so.People of reason act out of duty,Finding the reason within themselvesSince they live autonomously
27Recall that for KantAll goods (intelligence, love, experience of beauty and religious experience) are of lesser value than a good will(they are only the means to obtain a good will.)The soul was immortal since it was impossible to achieve the supreme good in this life
28Kant on God God is also held to duty. God makes certain that we can achieve the supreme goodThe supreme good (i.e., God) is a necessary condition of reason.
29Review on Kant The only good is a good will. Good is only good if it is done out a good will and provides no personal gain.An act is not moral if you enjoy doing it.Moral acts are performed out of duty and obligation.Reason dictates what is good.
30Emmanuel Levinas ( )The infinite Good, God, is the heart of ethics.Good comes as a call, a vocation.The good does not come from oneself.When I am called to respond to another, I am called to be good without reward, without self-interest.
31In the face of another, I am turned from myself and my own interests and desires towards the other. The other awakens me to the highest good.