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Publisher's Summary

In this 12-lecture meditation on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, you'll uncover the clarity and ethical wisdom of one of humanity's greatest minds. Father Koterski shows how and why this great philosopher can help you deepen and improve your own thinking on questions of morality and leading the best life. The aim of these lectures is to provide you with a clear and thoughtful introduction to Aristotle as a moral philosopher. After absorbing some important background information designed to introduce you to Aristotle's career and general approach to the various fields of knowledge, you turn to the ten books (today we would call them chapters) of this brief but towering work. Throughout, you'll consider Aristotle's account of the four main virtues of courage, moderation, justice, and prudence; his claims that happiness (eudaimonia) is the real goal of life; his explanations of how and why people attain- or fall short of- ethical excellence; his differences with his teachers Plato and Socrates over the hard question of what knowing rightly has to do with acting rightly; where Aristotle's thought fits into the long history of ethical reflection; and much more.

Prepare for an illuminating, mind-broadening, and thought-provoking learning experience, and a chance to get up close and personal with one of Western philosophy's founding fathers.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Ethics of Aristotle

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Solid primer on Aristotle

Solid course. Not life changing but definitely illuminating. Professor is knowledgable and charming. The course on the Platonic Dialogues is still the best audio course, however.

7 people found this helpful

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Father Joseph is awesome!

Would you listen to The Ethics of Aristotle again? Why?

Yes, in fact I have listened to The Ethics of Aristotle twice already. Father Joe gives a great deal of information. I was hungry to learn about this topic, so I needed to hear it a few times. Joseph is well spoken--it's almost as if he doesn't waste a word.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ethics of Aristotle?

The most memorable moments of The Ethics of Aristotle were when Father Joe breaks down how Aristotle saw the progression of friendships as well as how they are kindled (pun intended). Seeing great qualities in someone else draws us to them, and we become friends. This sounds simplistic, but it seemed quite profound once I thought a bit about that concept.

Which character – as performed by Father Joseph Koterski, S.J. – was your favorite?

He teaches Aristotle's Ethics, so he does not really perform any characters. He is a wonderful teacher, well spoken, and speaks as if he's in the room with you--very knowledgeable, organized, and informed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It is moving when Father Joseph talks about being a priest and teaching this subject, as he does--especially when he discusses young people making choices for better lives which really parallels the text since Aristotle wrote these guiding points for his son.

Any additional comments?

He is a great teacher, you can tell. He does not sound like he is reading a book but lecturing a college classroom, which I prefer! This is one of the best of The Great Courses which is a favorite series of mine. Some are hit and miss--this one's a hit!

11 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Great lecturer who knows his content. Clearly delights in sharing what he has learned, and does so with ease and flair.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent job.

superb lectures explaining Aristotle's ideas blended with the ideas of other thinkers! opened my eyes!

3 people found this helpful

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Standard class

Not much was gained by this book, does provoke thoughts for future philosophy. Reading was good and flowed well

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I felt that I was there ! In a enthusiastic class!

Father Joseph is able to translate the depth of Aristotle thoughts in a practical and living fashion. His writing allows one to engage the tenets and principles while provoking their personal application in our lives. In many ways I felt as though I was in a metaphysical retreat- contemplating each section and going back to listen again and again for deep meaning, application and personal growth! Thank you Father Joseph!

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Nice analysis and presentation PDF a must!

I did like the analysis and benefited most from the choice of sources cited. The audio accompanying PDF book was essentially for me, because I felt the audio presentation supported it well.
I appreciate the great bibliography, and I am accustomed to the classic academic lecture format.
I cringed everytime I had to endure the applause as it degraded the content, and this presentation would be much more effective without.

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Good review of a great book!

Although a little bit boring and monotonous, i think this review was very good and satisfactory to get a deep and sufficient understanding of the book Nichomacian Ethics.

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Ethics of Aristotle

A delightful narration taught with warmth, a sly sense of humor, and an underlying attitude of mastery.

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Very good -- recommended

All in all a great course. I have some previous knowledge of philosophy, including of Aristotle, and found this course to be well laid out and explained. It should serve to give a solid overview of a sensible, balanced approach to ethics that is generally relevant today.

I just have a few quibbles. Fr Koterski uses some phrases repeatedly that get a bit irritating -- "mindful of that" for example is used dozens of times.

Also I would have been fine with a longer course, perhaps contrasting Aristotle and his heirs such as Aquinas with other philosophers from Plato to the present day.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 07-01-16

Summary more than argument

While I very much enjoyed Fr. Koterski's rehearsal of Aristotle's arguments, I found myself not quite as engaged in the lectures, as I was with Prof. Robinson's "Great Ideas Of Philosophy".

Fr. Koterski's lectures are a thorough and well practiced summary of each of the books in Aristotle's ethics. That was enjoyable, but less engaging than Prof. Robinson, because Robinson was doing something very different. He was *making an argument* for how we ought to regard the ideas in those works, and what those ideas mean, in the broader scope of the development of human thought. If Fr. Koterski had challenged me a bit more in the way that Prof. Robinson had, I think the lectures would have been better.

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  • Cristina
  • 05-19-15

Superb!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Ethics of Aristotle to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but this lecture series is an absolutely superb to understanding Aristotle at a deeper level than one can master on his own. Aristotle is dry and his 'lecture notes' were never intended for publication. Father Joseph Koterski's clear, deep and enthusiastic delivery motivates one to go back again and again to Aristotle's Ethics. More of these, please!

Have you listened to any of Father Joseph Koterski, S.J.’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not yet, but I intend to listen to all his audio lectures, especially the one on Biblical Wisdom.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Everything has moved me, especially what he has to say about friendship and morality as something that one does as part of a community.

Any additional comments?

More of Father Joseph Koterski please!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chros
  • 04-13-22

Easily explained practical advice

Easily explained practical advice for the open-minded person wanting to become virtuous, these lectures essentially discuss The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, ‘the philosopher of common sense’. It doesn’t have all of life’s answers but provides a logical toolkit that will allow you to not only make valuable contributions to discussions on ethics but perhaps more importantly, to question your own decisions and habits. This is an important stop on your philosophical journey.

The course is led by Professor Joseph Koterski, a former philosophy professor and Jesuit priest who I was saddened to discover passed away last year. This is similar to the now deceased lecturer of legendary status Professor Garret G. Fagan, contributor to many in the Great Courses series. Listening to the words of a person who no longer exists is an eerie experience and a real memento mori.

In the lectures, Professor Joseph Koterski draws from his own life experiences and links the subject matter to related philosophies in an attempt to reinforce Aristotle’s ideas to students. For the most part Koterski is successful but overuses religious figures, especially Thomas Aquinas and Augustine.

For the most part, the 30-minute lectures are well-structured and fairly easy to absorb. Later lectures, especially the last two, feel a little disjointed as previously taught ideas are reinforced and the material starts to focus more on only loosely related material with topics such as the Unmoved Mover or Natural Law Theory.

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  • S. Choudry
  • 06-20-20

Ancient Wisdom

I must congratulate Father Koterski for dissecting a complex book into an illuminating lecture series.
Fascinating insight into the teachings of Aristotle.
Five star lecture and will recommend to all.

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  • Brian the Viking
  • 05-06-20

Absolutely fantastic!

If only the GreatCourses made more of this kind of incredible educational material instead of the “tour of XYZ“ rubbish that they turn out these days

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  • Chin Scratcher
  • 12-26-17

A great course

I've decided the secret to philosophy is to access a good introduction by a modern day expert prior to attempting an original work or historical body of thought. This course is that and well presented in addition. Many thanks!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Louise
  • 01-20-22

engaging

The content and delivery was engaging and educational. it left me with plenty of things to contemplate and further explore which is what I tend to want from Philosophy lectures.