ICS Calendar Title: Aristotle’s Political Philosophy at the Crossroads of Ethics and History
ICS Course Code: ICS 140411/240411 W15
Instructor: Dr. Robert Sweetman, TA: Joshua Harris
Term and Year: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:30 pm, Winter 2015
Last Updated: November 20, 2014
This course examines the intimate relationship between Aristotle’s Nichomachean and Eudemian Ethics, his historical/reflective account the Constitution of Athens, and his Politics. We will use Aristotle’s own interdisciplinarity to examine how it has served to inspire and challenge modern political-theoretical understandings of human communal life marked by sharp bifurcations between public and private, fact and value, political and ethical, systematic and historical. We will end by asking investigate what and how our reading of the two Ethics, the Constitutions and Politics can serve or challenge a faithful Christian political witness in the context of contemporary Western political culture.
1. Julia Annas, "Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality." in J.E. Tomberlin ed., Philosophical Perspectives vol. 6: Ethics, Ridgeview, 1992, 119-136.
2. Aristotle.Nichomachean Ethics.Christopher Rowe (tr.).Oxford: Oxford University Press,
2002, Books I-III.
3. NE, Books IV-V
4. NE, Books VI-VIII
5. NE, Books IX-X
6. Aristotle, Constitutions of Athens Oxford Clasical Texts. Trans. F.G. Kenyon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1920).
7. Aristotle.Politics. Ernest Baker (tr.), revised by Richard Stalley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, Books I-II.
8. Pol, Books III-IV
9. Pol, Books V-VI
10. Pol, Books VII-VIII
11. Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, 1-23; 343-378.
12. Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol. III p. 1 c. 2, §5, 198-222; Jonathan Chaplin, “Towards an Ecumenical Social Theory: Revisiting Herman Dooyeweerd’s Critique of Thomism” That the World May Believe: Essays on Mission and Unity in Honour of George Vandervelde. Ed. Michael W. Goheen and Margaret O’Gara. Lanham MD: University Press of America, 2006. 215-238.
13. No Reading
1. Introduction (reading 1)
2. Ethical Context of Politics: Nichomachaean Ethics (readings 2-5)
3. Historical Context of Politics (reading 6)
4. The Politics (reading 7-10)
5. Contemporary Approaches to the Politics
a. Appropriation and Development (reading 11)
b. Confrontation and Acknowledgment (reading 12)
6. A Philosophical Heterogeneity and the Christian Thinker.
a) To become more familiar with Aristotle’s way of conceiving of political life and norms.
b) To become familiar with Aristotle’s understanding of ethical life and norms.
c) To become familiar with Aristotle’s use of historical material in his political theory
d) To be able to critically evaluate Aristotle’s ethical, political and historical proposals.
e) To be able to reflect upon Aristotle’s political philosophy in terms of contemporary Christian theory.
a) Total reading: 1250 pages (including research for final paper), of which approximately
60 pages per week must be completed in preparation for class.
b) In-seminar leadership: Every week junior member participants will be responsible to formulate one or two questions to bring to class in the context of a reflection (300-500 words) on the reading which accounts for the reading of the texts (its salient passages that, when connected together, give rise to the questions) culminating in the questions themselves and the philosophical importance of the questions to the junior member her or himself. In addition, each junior member will be asked to lead classroom discussion of the required readings for the day and to prepare for that by preparing an analysis of the argument(s) present in the required readings in the context of the interlocutors taken up for debate within the required readings (whenever possible) so as to identify the central philosophical concerns present in the readings and an attempt to evaluate the treatment of those concerns in the readings (what seems right about the positions taken/arguments made; what seems weak about the positions taken/arguments made). This presentation will ordinarily amount to 1000-1500 words. All presentations will be handed in for comment etc.
c) Description of course project: A paper for which the theme arises from assigned reading and discussion and engages substantively with these sites. Length: 4,000–6,000 words (MA); 5,000–7,000 words (PhD)
d) Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:
ICS Junior Members:
i. Weekly Reflections & Class participation: 20 %
ii. Seminar Leadership: 20%
iii. Paper: 60%
iv. Weekly Reflections & Class participation: 20%
v. Seminar Leadership: 30%
vi. Paper: 50%
Annas,Julia."Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality." in J.E. Tomberlin ed., Philosophical Perspectives vol. 6: Ethics, Ridgeview, 1992, 119-136. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7744135]
Aristotle. Nichomachean Ethics. Christopher Rowe (tr.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. [Robarts Library: B430 .A5 B68 2002]
-----Politics. Ernest Baker (tr.), revised by Richard Stalley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. [Robarts Library: JC71 .A41 B3 2009]
____Eudemian Ethics. Trans. J. Solomon. In The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised
Oxford Translation. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985, II: 1922-1981. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B407 .S5 1984 v.1-2]
____Constitution of Athens, trans. F.G. Kenyon. Oxford Classical Texts. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1920. [1892 edition. Internet Archives: https://archive.org/details/athnainpoliteiaa00arisuoft]
Chaplin, Jonathan. “Towards an Ecumenical Social Theory: Revisiting Herman Dooyeweerd’s
Critique of Thomism” That the World May Believe: Essays on Mission and Unity in Honour of George Vandervelde. Ed. Michael W. Goheen and Margaret O’Gara. Lanham MD: University Press of America, 2006. 215-238. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX9422.5 .T53 2006]
Dooyeweerd, Herman. A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Volume III p. 1 c. 2 §5. 198-
Nussbaum,Martha.The Fragility of Goodness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
[ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BJ192 .N8]
-----“Human Functioning and Social Justice: In Defense of Aristotelian Essentialism.” Political Theory 20.2 (1992), 202-246. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PER ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7745172]
Adkins, A. W. H. “The Connection between Aristotle's Ethics and Politics.” In David Keyt and Fred D. Miller, Jr. (eds.) A Companion to Aristotle's Politics, 75–93. [Robarts Library: JC71 .A7 A75 1990]
Annas, Julia."The Structure of Virtue", in Micheal DePaul & Linda Zagzebski eds., Intellectual Virtue: Perspectives from Ethics and Epistemology.Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7228608]
-----The Morality of Happiness. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8957605]
-----“Aristotle on Human Nature and Political Virtue.” The Review of Metaphysics 49 (1996), 731–54. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7750200]
Blackledge, Paul and Kelvin Knight (eds.).Virtue and Politics: Alasdair MacIntyre's Revolutionary Aristotelianism. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC 257 .M23 V57 2011 ; Robarts Library JC257 .M23 V57 2011X]
Burnyeat, Myles F. “Aristotle on learning to be good.” In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics. University of California Press, 1980, 69-92. [Robarts Library: B430 .A5 R56]
Curzer, Howard J., "Aristotle: Founder of the Ethics of Care."Journal of Value Inquiry 41:2/4, 221-43, 2007. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7728436]
MacIntyre, Alasdair. Whose Justice? Which Rationality? Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B105 .J87 M33]
McDowell, John, "Eudaimonism and Realism in Aristotle’s Ethics." In Robert Heinamen ed., Aristotle and Moral Realism, Westview, 1995. [Robarts Library: B491 .E7 A75 1995X]
Miller, F.D., Jr. (1989) “Aristotle’s Political Naturalism” Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy
and Science vol. 22 pp. 195-218 [UofT Libraries e-resources: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7685707]
Nussbaum, Martha, "Aristotelian Social Democracy." In R. Bruce Douglass, Gerald M. Mara & Henry S. Richardson eds., Liberalism and the Good, Routledge, 1990 (reprinted in Aristide Tessitore ed., Aristotle and Modern Politics, University of Notre Dame Press, 2002). [Robarts Library: JC71 .A7 A75 2002X]
-----“Recoiling from Reason: A Review of Alasdair MacIntyre’sWhose Justice? Whose Rationality?” The New York Review of Books 36.19 (Dec. 7, 1989), 36-41.
Pakaluk, Michael. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. [SMC Kelly Library: B430 .P24 2005]
Polansky, Ronald (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 430 .C36 2014 ; SMC Kelly Library: B430 .C36 2014 SMC]
Rorty, Amélie Oksenberg. ed., Essays on Aristotle's Ethics. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1980. [Robarts Library: B430 .A5 R56]
Rowe, Christopher J. “Aims and Methods in Aristotle's Politics.” In David Keyt and Fred D. Miller, Jr. (eds.) A Companion to Aristotle's Politics. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991, pp. 57–74. [Robarts Library: JC71 .A7 A75 1990]
Sandler, Ronald, "What Makes a Character Trait a Virtue?"Journal of Value Inquiry 39, 383- 397, 2005. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7728436]
Sherman, Nancy, "The Role of Emotions in Aristotelian Virtue."Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, UP of America vol. 9, 1994. [Robarts Library: B1 .B67]
Williams, Bernard, “Aristotle on the Good: A formal sketch.” The Philosophical Quarterly 12.49 (1962), 289-296. [UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7744137]
Yack, Bernard. The Problems of a Political Animal: Community, Justice, and Conflict in Aristotelian Political Thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. [Robarts Library: JC71 .A7 Y34 1993]
Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.
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