Many students who begin their reading in Academy Philosophy, find the first assignments in Aristotle's Ethics to be very difficult. This is because, in the opening readings, we are introduced to some broader philosophical concepts that prepare us to investigate the doctrine of moral philosophy. After the introduction is concluded, Aristotle moves to the study of the individual virtues and vices, which is easier. Students need help to get through the opening chapters and then, life gets easier.
The introductory issues Aristotle addresses are:
- What are "ends"?
- Are any ends sought for their own sake?
- Is there any end at which all actions aim?
- If so, what is this end?
- Is "happiness" that end?
- What is "happiness"?
The discussions of these questions can get pretty deep at times, but the comprehension questions I provide students with, to guide their reading, will help them along and, more importantly, allow me to help them--IF they are willing to try their best.
Ultimately, most students who really don't want to learn, or parents who really don't care about these stuudies, will quit--and Aristotle intended to do so. I can only help those who will do their part and any who do will find that these beginning troubles quickly go away.