Aristotle’s Philosophy of Life and the Pursuit of Happiness (PHIL 310/001)

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Instructor: Mariska Leunissen. This course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. in Hanes Art Center 218.

Topics in the History of Philosophy:
‘Aristotle’s Philosophy of Life and the Pursuit of Happiness’

This course offers an in-depth examination of Aristotle’s philosophy of life (as presented mainly in his biological treatises) and the way it shapes his conception of what it means for humans to live a happy life (as presented in the ethical treatises). We will read a wide array of works of Aristotle (including – selections from – On the Soul, The Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals, On the Heavens, the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics), as well as relevant secondary sources. Topics that will be discussed are, among others, Aristotle’s account of the soul and of soul-functions; his biology (including embryology); his bio-cosmology; Aristotle’s views on the ‘special’ status of human beings; his views about women and natural slaves; and his views about the role of virtue and friendship in living a happy life. Special attention will be paid to interactions of Aristotle with his predecessors in his discussions of philosophical problems and to the methodological problems involved in the study of Aristotle’s treatises, many of which are notoriously difficult and obscure.

Mariska Leunissen’s webpage