Intro to Logic

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C H A P T E R  5




(384 – 322 BCE)




Aristotle (384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great. He was among the greatest polymaths of all time. His fields of expertise include: philosophy,  logic, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, politics, ethics, biology, and zoology.

Alexander the Great

(356-323 BCE)

  Maps of War




1.  He was an empiricist.

     Biology, not math, is the model for knowledge.

     Knowledge begins by experiencing particulars.

2.  Life requires an organism.

     Man is mortal.


Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Hominidae

Genus: Homo

Species: Homo Sapiens












  Socrates, Plato, Dick, and Jane
  Man, tree, animal, plant

  Size, extension

  John is 5'10"
  Quality   Properties   Red, smart, sharp, furry
  Relation   How objects are related   Taller, left, right, top, near, far
  Place   Location   Athens, Greece
  Time   When   384–322 BCE
  Position   Posture, attitude   Lying, sitting, standing
  State   condition   Armed, sleeping, awake
  Action   To make or do   Running, walking, working
  Passivity   To suffer or undergo   Imprisoned, restrained, fired


The Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics are the lecture notes of his son Nicomachus.




1.     Everything aims at the good - Telos.

2.     Happiness is the highest good.

3.     Virtue is happiness - the realization of our essential nature.

        Good habits facilitate virtue.

4.     Man is the rational animal, so virtue is rational activity.

5.     Virtue is the mean between two extremes (relative to us).

        Everything in moderation.

       The moderate life is the rational life, & the good life.

6.     Some acts are inherently bad.


EATING:              anorexia  temperance  bulimia
FEAR: brave / foolhardy courage coward
CONFIDENCE: self conscious confident vain
HONOR: humility  pride arrogance / vanity
BELIEF: narrow-minded open-minded gullible / naive
SPENDING: stingy liberality wasteful
ANGER: doormat easygoing irascible
EMOTIONS: Spock / stoic Christ Richard Simmons
FAIRNESS:  mercy
(not giving one's due)
(giving one's due)
(giving one's undue)


stoic temperance intemperance

Intellectual virtue is governed by the intellectual part of the soul. There are two types of intellectual virtue - practical and theoretical wisdom.  Practical wisdom concerns objects that change. Right actions are governed by practical wisdom. Practical wisdom determines what means are best suited for any given ends. Practical wisdom leads to moral virtue.

This seems to indicate that we are free to choose our ends, and reason tells use what is the best means to achieve those ends. That would be a relativist position, but Aristotle says that these ends are unfixed. The ultimate human end is not subject to the changing norms of society. Our final end is happiness. Happiness is universal to every human being.  

Theoretical wisdom governs objects that are unchanging, and it is the ultimate virtue. Reason is our highest faculty.

The Good is what we're seeking. Happiness is our ultimate end because all things aim at it. It is activity in accordance with virtue. Virtue is the excellence of a thing to perform its function. Reason is our ultimate function. Happiness is the realization of our rational nature. A virtuous person lives in accordance with reason - to realize our rational potentiality.

The soul has a rational & non rational part. The non rational part is desire. The rational has two parts; they are sophia and phronesis. Sophia is intellectual wisdom. Its objects are unchanging. Phronesis is practical wisdom. Its objects are changing. Practical reason controls our desires (>). When appetites and desires are under rational control the result is moral virtue. This occurs when we follow the mean between two extremes. These extremes are vices, and they are caused by irrationality.













 Book I

The good is what all things aim. Everything we do aims at some end (good). The final end of everything we do is the good (52, 54).

Happiness is the highest good. It's the end of all action (54). We choose knowledge, honor, pleasure, and virtue for themselves, but also for happiness. We choose happiness for itself, but never for something else.

Happiness could be (1) pleasure, (2) honor (3) virtue, (4) wealth, and (5) the contemplative life:


(1).     Happiness is not pleasure (53):

A life of pleasure is suitable for lower animals.

Mill, Freud, and Aristotle think happiness is the end of action.

Aristotle does not think that it's pleasure.

Mill, Freud think that it is pleasure because pleasure is desired in itself, and never for something else (see 54), so pleasure is the final end.


(2).    Happiness is not honor (53):

Honor depends on other people.

(3).     Happiness is not virtue (53):

Virtue is compatible with suffering.

(4).     Happiness is not wealth (53):

Wealth is desired for happiness.

(5).     An boy or ox cannot be happy (56).


The essence of a thing resides in its function (54).

Man is the rational animal, so

the function of man is reason (55).

Happiness is virtuous activity (55).

Happiness is virtue.


Virtue is acquired by habit when we are young (56).





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