Tuesday, October 13 – Monday, October 19, 2020

Live Like an Aristotelian Week

Tuesday, October 13
Day 1: Virtue and Happiness

Wednesday, October 14
Day 2: Virtue as a Craft

Thursday, October 15
Day 3: Virtue and the Mean

Friday, October 16
Day 4: Virtue and Pleasure

Saturday, October 17
Day 5: Virtue and Pleasure (cont’d)

Sunday, October 18
Day 6: Virtue and Bias

Monday, October 19
Day 7: Virtue and Friendship

Over the next seven days you will be putting some of Aristotle’s views of the good life into practice. The main goal is to engage in intentional work on developing a virtue or character strength that matters to you. On each day of the week you will be assigned a particular activity to complete. Some of these activities will ask you to complete a task, reflect on a few questions, or engage in a thought experiment. Others will involve cultivating habits, changing your behavior with others in a certain way, or going about your everyday routine a little differently.

All of the philosophical exercises for this week are located on this page and you will need to complete them daily. This will consist of two steps:

  1. At the start of each day in the morning, you should read the assigned exercises and carry them out—you can keep this assignment open on your phone throughout the day for easy access.
  2. At the end of each day in the evening, you should submit in the designated dropbox a short private journal entry (1-2 paragraphs) on what you’ve learned.

Class periods and dialogue sessions that occur during the week will be devoted to discussing and working on your exercises individually or in groups. On the last day of this week (Monday, October 19) you will meet in your breakout section to have a “postmortem” discussion on your experiences putting Aristotle’s views into practice.

Your final assignment for this unit will be a synthesis essay on how/whether the approach to living well that you have put into practice this week has deepened your understanding of Aristotle’s views and/or affected your own understanding of the good life.

Specifically, you should review your journal entries for this week and write an essay of approximately 1000 words summarizing your final reflections on Aristotle’s approach to the good life. Your essay should engage with at least one of the theoretical views that we have covered in this unit, such as Aristotle’s understanding of happiness as eudaimonia, his “function argument” in NE I.7, his ideas about the role of virtue in a good life, the relationship between virtue and pleasure, his conception of virtue as a habit, his doctrine of the mean, or his views on friendship. Cite the texts we have studied where possible. This essay is due on Saturday, October 24To submit it, click here and scroll down to access the “Dropbox for Synthesis Essay” under the section titled “Select Day.”

Readings for the assigned exercises and evening reflections this week are drawn from:

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, translated by C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett, 2014)