Study Help Essay Questions


1. What are two fundamental assumptions of Aristotle's approach to ethics that are typical of most ancient Greek philosophers?

2. According to Aristotle, what is the relationship of politics and ethics, and what is the purpose of studying ethics? What limitations are there on the methodology of such a study?

3. What was Plato's view of the good? Does Aristotle agree?

4. How does Aristotle define a final end? What is his conception of happiness?

5. How does Aristotle define virtue? What is the difference between moral and intellectual virtue? What role do pleasure and pain play in testing virtue?

6. What is the doctrine of the mean? Give examples of the mean and extremes in regard to several particular virtues? What are some criticisms that have been made of the doctrine of the mean?

7. On the basis of Aristotle's discussion of virtue, what appears to be the Greek conception of the good man? How does this differ from the Christian conception of the good man?

8. What is the difference between voluntary and involuntary action? What bearing does this have on personal moral responsibility?

9. Explain Aristotle's conceptions of: universal and particular justice, natural and conventional justice, domestic and political justice. What is the difference between justice and equity? In what sense is Aristotle's discussion of justice a limited one?

10. What are the five faculties of the rational part of the soul and in what modes do they find expression?

11. What does Aristotle consider the highest form of wisdom? With what is it concerned?

12. Define practical wisdom and explain its relation to the activities of daily life?

13. Explain Aristotle's conception of continence and incontinence. How does he deal with the problem of a man who has knowledge of what is good yet does something harmful to himself?

14. Explain the Aristotelian conception of friendship and its role in society. What is philia?

15. What are the six kinds of political constitution discussed by Aristotle? Explain their operation and mention which are considered best and worst.

16. What does Aristotle mean when he says that the basis of friendship is self-love? Is he advocating selfishness or egotism?

17. What does Aristotle mean when he says man is a composite being? What does it mean to be in harmony with oneself?

18. What is the highest form of happiness according to Aristotle? Is there any other form of happiness? How has this view been criticized?

19. What is the importance and function of pleasure in Aristotle's system of morality? Does he think that pleasure is a supreme good or absolutely bad?

20. What is Aristotle's place in the history of philosophy? Give a brief account of his career and works.

21. In what ways do you consider Aristotle's moral philosophy applicable or inapplicable to present day problems and needs?