Learning to Live Well

Mon, Jan 20

You can learn to solve a differential equation.  You can learn to ride a bike.  But is happiness something that can be learned?  And if so, how?  This class section will introduce the fundamental philosophical puzzle of God and the Good Life and discuss Aristotle's answer to it.  

We have three main in-class learning goals.  By the end of lecture today:

  1. You should be able to compare Eudaimonist approaches to happiness with hedonist approaches.
  2. You should understand the key premises of Aristotle's function argument.
  3. You should be able to give a personal example illustrating Aristotle's method of developing virtues and vices.

Starting today, you should do all of the readings before our lecture meeting.  You should also answer the reflection questions below in your Journal.  Be sure to bring journals to class.

Read This:


Interactive Essay: Aristotle on Learning to Live Well (Nicomachean Ethics I.7, II.1-4)


What Makes Us Happy? (The Atlantic)

Do This:

Reflect on the following three questions in your GGL Journal before you come to lecture:

  1. What's the difference between an instrumental good and a final good (according to Aristotle)?  Give your own examples of instrumental goods in your life.  What is their relationship to other goods?  For example: if you think jogging is an important instrumental good in your life, what other good is it helping you attain?  
  2. If you had to form an advisory board to help you plot out the good life, who would you put on it?  Why?
  3. Read and reflect on the Atlantic article.  How well are Notre Dame students today poised to flourish? 


Watch This: