Course details


Introduction to Aristotle's Ethics

WS 2023 Prof. Dr. Rainer Mühlhoff Hybrid
B.Sc modules:
CS-BWP-PHIL - Philosophy for Cognitive Science
M.Sc modules:
CS-MWP-PHIL - Philosophy for Cognitive Science

CS-BW - Bachelor elective course
CS-MW - Master elective course
Tue: 14-16

In this seminar, we will explore Aristotle's classic work on ethics, the "Nikomachean Ethics". This work remains one of the most influential and widely studied ethical treatises in the Western tradition. Throughout the semester, we will work through the entire text and discuss Aristotle’s arguments and ideas about the nature of the good life, human flourishing, and virtue. We will also debate to what extent Aristotle's ethics is still relevant in relation to ethics in the digital society. Against the backdrop of the contemporary framing of ethics as a discipline that produces “guidelines” and “checklists” (which is particularly evident in the field of the ethics of artificial intelligence), Aristotle offers an opportunity to develop a richer and more comprehensive idea of ethics. As we shall see, the Aristotelian model of practical philosophy, which is called "ethics", integrates a theory of happiness, virtues, and right action, with a theory of the political as a specific way of social coexistence of people in a community. This seminar is intended for students with an interest in philosophy and ethics, potentially in relation to contemporary ethical and political questions. By the end of the course, students will have a deep understanding of Aristotle's ethical theory and its relevance to a critical engagement with contemporary ethical debates. No prerequisites. Participation involves reading the ~300 pages of Aristotle’s ethics over the semester in weekly portions. This is a hybrid class: Students can participate on site or remotely in Big Blue Button. A webcam is required for remote participation.