Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Aristotle's ethics - Philosophy Bites

A brilliant podcast is Philosophy Bites. Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds manage to reduce philosophy to little bites of audio of around fifteen minutes and maintain a very reasonable intellectual level. Basically this is a podcast that you should have tried and that you should stay subscribed to and take your pick from the wide variety of subjects.

An excellent place to start is the latest issue about Aristotle's Ethics. Guest Terence Irwin takes us from the person Aristotle to the two periods he was intensively received in western thinking (the Renaissance and the nineteenth century) to the nature of Aristotle's ethics and how his thoughts are still relevant, applicable and giving food for discussion and critique today.

To give but an example: liberal political theory takes man as an individual and places in the state the obligation to respect the rights and freedoms of the individual. With Aristotle, this approach is criticized with the point that Aristotle already makes, that man is part of a community. He lives by and through the social fabric and is therefore a social and political being. The interests of state and individual then coincide and that gives rise to a whole other political theory. For example Hegel and Marx used Aristotle thus to criticize liberal theory.

Irwin is favorable to Aristotle's ethics, but voices also, by the end, a couple of points at which he'd like to improve or adapt Aristotle's ethics. Amazing how much can be dealt with in 17 minutes and 28 seconds.

More Philosophy Bites
Alternative Hedonism,
Non-realism of God,

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