This Version October 26, 2001

Aristotle Rhetoric 1.5

1. How does Aristotle understand happiness in the first paragraph.

2. What are the "parts" of happiness? Distinguish between between internal and external goods, and between goods of the soul and goods of the body.

Herodotus and Democritus

Compare Solon's (Herodotus'?) view of happiness (VAP 301 especially) with that of Democritus. How do they differ about the factors contributing to happiness?

Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics

1. With what do different types of people identify happiness? Why are these criticized? (The criticisms differ for the different accounts of happiness.) (1.4-5 [VAP 320-21])

2. What does Aristotle mean by "final end"? "self-sufficient good"? (These are formal characteristics of happiness: any definition of happiness must meet these conditions.) (321-22)

3. What does the human good (=happiness) "turn out to be" (323, lines 10-13). Though still sketchy, this is the chief content Aristotle wants to give his definition of happiness. How is this definition related to Aristotle's idea of the human function? Distinguish human function from the function of a plant, an animal. Distinguish the function of a good lyre-player from that of a good human being.

4. What parts do pleasure and external goods play in the happy life? (324-25)

5. Can a person who is truly good and wise become miserable? If he meets with the misfortunates of (legendary Trojan King) Priam, will he reach blessedness? (327)

The Stoic View (from Cicero, On Ends Book 3)

1. What motivates a human being at birth? (3.16) Against what view is "Cato" probably arguing?

2. How do the "valuable" (sometimes called "advantageous" or "preferred") and "non-valuable" ("disadvantageous," "dispreferred," or "rejected") relate to nature?

3. What are appropriate actions? (3.20-22) What are they aimed at? (3.22) Are they all aimed at our ultimate good? (3.22) (For more clarification of appropriate actions, see: 3.58-61.)

4. What sort of development does Cato describe at 3.20-22? What is the relevance of his statement that "when one is introduced [by one person] to someone [else], one [sometimes] comes to value that [second] person more highly than the one who made the introduction"? (23)

5. Use the archery analogy to explain the Stoic conception of the ultimate aim? If what we are to "select" is the "natural principles" or advantageous things corresponding to our appropriate actions, what corresponds to those things in this analogy? (3.22)

6. How do right actions differ from appropriate actions? (3.24)

7. How does Cato describe the "final aim"? (3.26) To what do Stoics limit the good? (3.26)

8. Are immoral acts wrong chiefly because of their consequences, according to the Stoics? (3.32, 3.38)

9. Is (physical) pain an evil, according to Cato? (3.42) Does it follow that the Stoic sage does not feel pain? (Read carefully.)

10. How do the Stoics and the Aristotelians (Peripatetics) differ regarding the importance of bodily well-being? (3.43)

11. What follows from the Stoic's thinking that health has a certain value but is not a true good? (3.44)

12. What are some of the "valuable" (not good) things that we have reason to prefer over their opposites? (3.51)

13. Do the Stoics think that it may sometimes be our appropriate action to "depart from life though happy"? (3.60) (Explain.) Does the fact that life itself is not a good but a "valuable" thing influence the Stoic judgment on this issue?

14. How does nature indicate what our appropriate actions are toward our children? (3.62) Toward our fellow-citizens? Toward posterity? (3.65)

15. How does Cato (Cicero?) implicitly defend property rights even though property could be conceived of as communal (belonging, perhaps, to Jupiter; and in a less ultimate way, to the city-state as a whole)? (3.67-68)

The Epicurean Position (from Cicero On Ends book 1)

To print out only this Epicurean section of these Study Questions, click here.

1. The final and ultimate good is the quality of ___; the highest evil is _____. (On Ends 1.29)

2. Why, according to Epicurus, is no justification or debate needed to establish this? (1.30)

3. Why do some people mistakenly shun or loathe or avoid pleasure? Why do some people (seem to) seek pain? (1.32)

4. How do Epicureans criticize people who are seduced by immediate pleasure? Those who abandon their duties through mental weakness? (1.33)

5. What method will the wise person uphold? (1.33)

6. What misunderstandings were already, in the first century B.C., widespread about Epicurean philosophy? (1.37)

7. How does the speaker define pleasure? Pain? (1.37)

8. What does Epicurus hold to be the highest pleasure? Why does he consider this to be the highest pleasure? (1.38)

9. How can one have strength of mind to fear neither death nor pain? (1.40) What role does memory play in the good life? A proper view about the gods (such that one is not afraid of them)?

10. What renders a thing right and praiseworthy? How is the highest or greatest good defined at 1.42?

11. What has wisdom, the art of living, mastered? (1.42-43) The root of life's troubles is ___? (1.43)

12. How does wisdom drive misery from our hearts? (1.43-44)

13. What characterizes necessary and natural desires? The other kind of desires? (1.45)

On classification of the desires see Letter to Menoecus 127. There are three types of natural desires that are "necessary": if I am to live, to stay healthy, and to be happy, then I "must," e.g., eat, exercise, and make friends, respectively. Desire for sex is natural but "unnecessary." The non-natural desires are those that "rest on empty opinion" (Epicurus, Principle Doctrine 30); they appear to be identical to the "worthless desires" (On Ends 1.45). An example is a desire for the latest fashion in clothing or exotic foods.
14. Is temperance to be sought for its own sake? Courage? Justice? Explain. (1.47-50) Is justice choiceworthy in its own right? (1.53)

15. How do Epicureans seem to rank mental pleasure and pain in relation to physical pleasure and pain? (1.55)

16. What is the logical relationship between living pleasantly and living honestly, honorably, and justly? (1.57)

17. What is worse, sickness of body or sickness of mind? How does the speaker understand sickness of mind? (1.59)

18. Do Epicureans value friendship? Do they seem to advocate an instrumental or manipulative attitude toward friends? Explain. (1.65-70)