Aristotle's Ethics: Its Critics through History
Jun 30, 2006
Aristotle’s is one of the most rational and developed theories in the history of ethical thought. Yet despite its influence, it has never found broad acceptance among intellectuals. Why? This course explains various historically important—and sometimes justified—challenges to his theory. After setting out his main doctrines, we will survey ancient, medieval and modern criticisms of: the function argument, the doctrine of the mean, his account of justice, and more.
In seeing criticisms of Aristotle’s views, we can see pivotal points in the history of moral philosophy—points which became trends that helped shape the modern world. The course thus provides an understanding not only of the core of Aristotle’s ethical thought, but also of crucial developments in the history of moral philosophy. Both of these are taken as part of the crucial background against which Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy can be understood.