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 Born in Stagira, Greece (near Macedonia)  Aristotle’s father introduced him to anatomy, medicine and philosophy – he had a well- learned childhood.

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Presentation on theme: " Born in Stagira, Greece (near Macedonia)  Aristotle’s father introduced him to anatomy, medicine and philosophy – he had a well- learned childhood."— Presentation transcript:


2  Born in Stagira, Greece (near Macedonia)  Aristotle’s father introduced him to anatomy, medicine and philosophy – he had a well- learned childhood  Parents died when he was 17  Plato taught and mentored Aristotle  Plato was a leading thinker in Greece (at Academy)

3  Plato - He looked at the abstract, the world of ideas - Man of contemplation and deep thought  Aristotle - He looked at human experiences and the world of nature - Thrived on hands-on experience, observation and classification

4  Due to political unrest, Aristotle fled from Athens to Aegean  Fled again to Macedonia and began to tutor King Philip’s son – Alexander (later known as the Great)  Aristotle started a school (Lyceum)  He wrote about logic, metaphysics, theology, history, politics and ethics and the basic foundations of many science disciplines

5  After Alexander the great died, there was more political unrest  Aristotle was charged with not respecting the gods of the state (he was friends with the King)  Fled again, but died in a year  Much of his work was lost the destruction of the great library of Alexandria  Only 40 of 360 works survived to today

6  St. Thomas Aquinas rediscovered Aristotle in the 13 th century through Arab scholars  His teachings became associated with Catholic ethical theory

7  Aristotle believed that the happiness of a person (citizen) was found in community  Happiness is an enduring and long-lasting condition that results when one lives and acts well  Happiness is not the same as pleasure, as pleasure is momentary

8  Ethics aims to discover what is good for us as human beings  It helps us learn what permits us to reach out potential  Ethics gives us rationality and our internal compass (our conscience maybe)

9  All things in this world aim for goodness  This ethics discovers the finality ( telos ) or purpose of something – what completes us?  We are intended to be rational – our greatest capacity is our intelligence  Acting ethically, is to engage our capacity to reason as we develop good character (highest form of happiness)  Good person – one whose actions are based on excellent reasoning and spend a great amount of time thinking

10  When we have started to reach our potential and what we intend to be – we develop habits that make us the best  In other words, when we do things well, we become better humans (these excellent things we do well are virtues )  A good person used reason to control desire  We must allow reason to guide our actions, and only then will these moral virtues become habit!


12  Born and raised in Prussia (N.E. Germany)  Grew up in poverty- stricken, but very religious Protestant family  Family were Pietists – believed in personal devotion and Bible reading  Lived near home all his life (never went beyond 100 km of his birthplace)  His life was all about routine – everything was nearly scheduled

13  After university, Kant worked as a private tutor and teacher  He became a university professor of logic and metaphysics  Kant wrote books – difficult to understand  Critique of Pure Reason took 12 years to write and contains the longest sentences ever written (like in your reflections!)  He greatly influenced Western thought and philosophy

14  Kant wanted to know how humans came to know things  He also wanted to know what role experience played in out knowledge  Asked other questions:  Can we know things that are beyond our immediate experience?  Can we know and predict the cause and effect?  Theoretical reasoning asked the big questions and help us understand the laws of nature and cause and effect, govern human behaviour

15  The moral dimension that guides human behaviour  Humans act out of impulse (our nature) and conscious choice (on principle)  Theoretical reasoning tells us what people actually do, while practical reasoning tell us what we should do  Kant introduced us to the idea of MORAL DUTY

16  Shared with Aristotle that good is the aim in life, but in a different way  We need practical principles to pursue the supreme good: 1. God – the existence of God allows us to attain supreme good, as we are limited in our power as humans 2. Freedom – to have the duty to achieve the supreme good, we must have the freedom to do something. Humans are free beings 3. Immortality – the supreme good is too large a task for this life – it goes beyond to the next life, and so on

17  Kant (unlike Aristotle) sees goodness in the individual (in their private life and inner conscience)  Good Will – doing our duty, because it is our duty  Kant’s theory is deontological, as ‘deon’ refers to duty  A human action is morally good if it is done for the sake of duty  Real worth is measured by the motive behind them  According to Kant, you are the king of your castle – your decision (and according to your will)

18  Duty is determined by maxims (principles)  For something to be ethical, there must be an objective principle (must also apply to all)  Ethical maxim – how every rational person would act if reason was used to decide actions  Act in a way you would want others to act also (Sound like anything familiar?)


20  Born in Kaunas, Lithuania  Lived during the Holocaust with his Jewish family  Began studies at University of Strassbourg in philosophy  Levinas saw a contrast between Western philosophy and his strong Jewish faith

21  He understood that Western philosophy attempted to overcome difference/diversity by grouping everything in unity – called ‘Being’  Everything carries sameness  Difference is reduced to being accidental (not essential)

22  This tradition focused on the singular (having its own identity)  The singularity of things gives them identity

23  WWII – Levinas was caught by the Germans and was a prisoner of war for 5 years.  His whole family died in the Holocaust. His wife and daughter escaped but lost communication with him  His war experience made Levinas more aware of his Jewish roots

24  Mordachi Chouchani (Jewish teacher) was Levinas’ teacher at age of 40  He instructed Levinas in the Jewish Talmud  Soon, Levinas also instructed the Talmud to young Jewish intellectuals in France

25  Became chair in philosophy at Univ. of Poitiers  1973 – Became professor of philosophy at Sorbonne (most prestigious school in Paris)  Became a popular writer and soon retired  Even in lecturing, took his Jewish values very seriously (No lecturing on the Sabbath)  He wrote and lectured until illness and death in 1995

26  The Good – the central question of all philosophy  The Good goes beyond Being  The Being names what things have in common (when you remove all the differences)  The Being can be dangerous, because it takes away from reality, the uniqueness of each individual or thing  The unique things and persons are called traces of the Good (a.k.a. God)  Everything we encounter is finite (that is why we only see traces of God)  God has gone ahead (the infinite)

27  The face is the most naked part of the body  We can see the traces of God in the face (Levinas was against make-up)  In someone’s eyes, we make immediate and direct contact  When you have an experience looking into someone’s face, you see their uniqueness  “You shall not murder” – taking away another person’s uniqueness


29  Recognizing the Other’s hardships in the face allows good to prevail by making us act to help that person – makes you responsible  The face is a trace of God who has already passed by (the infinite good). The divine speaks to us through the face (Ex. Think of the face-to-face ethical experience)

30  Our responsibility to the face is our calling or duty – here the search for the Good ends (by making a good moral decision)  We should be looking out for our neighbour - God’s touch  Goodness (with God as the end) is about responsibility for the other  We will see more of this in the social justice unit…


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