Welcome to the Nicomachean Ethics Course

As this course's designer and instructor, I'd like to welcome you personally to this ReasonIO Academy class site in which you'll be studying, and learning, and engaging with the course material, at your own pace.

This course is designed to guide you through study of an important and influential work of Western Philosophy - Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. In this course, we look at the first part of the work - books 1 through 5. I hope that you will find the experience of learning and engaging with the material as rich, intensive, and enjoyable as I do designing and teaching this course!

This class is being offered through ReasonIO as a not-for-credit course. It is for personal enrichment, development, and lifelong learning. That doesn't mean that you won't learn as much in this class as you would if you were to take it for credit through a college or university. In fact, not only have I taught some of the same material you'll be seeing in my college classes, you're getting to study Aristotle with an instructor who actively researches that thinker and his texts, whereas in many college classes that's not exactly the case (sad to say).

The Nichomachean Ethics is a fairly long work, but quite manageable if you approach it one portion at a time. It's not necessary -- or even likely to be successful -- that you attempt to absolutely master this text in the course of our class. Rather, you should think of this as an opportunity to lay down a solid groundwork that will be useful for you should you return to the text for future and more intensive rereading, study, and application

One of the main tasks for you as a student in Philosophy -- one which we'll just start and lay the groundwork for in this class -- is to study this work and the key ideas contained within it so that you can (re)envision the world, human beings and society through their eyes. This doesn't mean that you have to agree with those perspectives -- but you do have to work to understand them.

There's more that you'll be doing, though. One way of understanding Philosophy is as involving "the examined life" -- and this is a significant area of any genuinely human life. In this class, you'll also be examining your own life, experiences, relationships, values, and plans in relation to the thinkers and texts we'll be studying. You'll also see what other students make of these ideas as well -- and perhaps find some interesting overlaps or connections between your own perspective and that of some of your fellow learners.

I've designed this Teachable course intentionally to assist you in reading, studying, discussing - and most of all learning about, and developing an appreciation for - classic Philosophical texts and thinkers - and for Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in particular. You'll find that a considerable portion of the class - and what you'll be doing -- will take place through this course site. I'm setting it up deliberately to be an online learning environment for students - a virtual space that complements your own self-directed activity of studying.

The ultimate goals for this class lie far outside of the structure of this site. They have instead to do with your further development in the course of your studies, in your career, and in the rest of your life. So, what I try to do -- and your own work, efforts, and discussions are a key part of this -- is to do three main things.

  • The first is to help you learn the material we cover in the class in a deep and lasting way -- I will be supplying you with resources (e.g. overviews, handouts, even some videos) designed to help you wrap your head about the admittedly difficult material, and to "make it stick", so that you'll be able to draw upon it as something you now possess after this class is over.
  • The second is to open up for you wider vistas going beyond the specific material that we read and discuss -- to help you continue as "lifelong learners" in Philosophy. And, to a large extent, that means directing you to quality resources readily available to (but perhaps not yet known by) you, resources that you'll find useful for continuing your education in Philosophy.
  • The third is to communicate a portion of my passion about these subjects -- and the texts and thinkers -- to you. I want to share that with you, and help you find your own way to appreciating key philosophical texts, thinkers, problems, and perspectives.

So once again, welcome to our class! I'm happy that you've taken the time to enroll, and happier yet to be sharing some discussions about this brilliant thinker with you, as we study his text!

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