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  • Andrew Elizalde

Nicomachean Ethics | Aristotle

This last Friday night our Great Books Patio Club met to discuss Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Pictured below is the schematic that I created (and later colored and further annotated) to guide our discussion.

Questions we considered are listed below with page numbers from the Oxford World's Classics edition:


Can virtue be taught? (p.15) Can a young child be virtuous? (p.15) Why must the politician study the soul? (p.20) How do habits shape character? (p.24) How much of our action is determined by anticipated pleasures or pains? (p.27) How does our personal response to the excess and deficiency we see in others reveal our own moral disposition? (p.35) What extremes do you need to drag yourself away from? (p.36) What does your cash flow reveal about your moral virtue (liberality or magnificence)? (p.62) What might Aristotle think about Las Vegas? (p.64) Can the proud man also possess a virtuous kind of humility? (p.71) How can shame be a good thing (a "quasi-virtue")? (p.79) Who or what establishes the equality of two people? (p.85) Is money the only unit that makes all things commensurate in matters of justice? (p.90) From what or where does our intuition of first principles originate? (p.107) How or why must the virtuous man respect his elders? (p.114) Does the nature of men differ? Can a man be predisposed to incontinence? (p.135) How do "all things [have] something divine in them"? (p.139) What is the relationship between justice and friendship? (p.142) Why are friendships of pleasure and utility so easily dissolved? (p.144) How do differences in motives and expectations harm friendships? (p.163) How might friendship be a kind of self-love? (p.168) What is the relationship between pleasure and happiness? (p.183) When is it appropriate to seek amusement? (p.193) How does the contemplative life move us nearer to the divine? (p.195) Why is law necessary? (p.199) What can humans be held responsible for? Why? Do we have a "sinful" nature? How might Aristotle respond to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)?


Pictured below is the assembly of gentlemen that gather to discuss the text:

Send me an email if you are interested in launching your own book discussion group. I can help you get one started.

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