Questions for Reflection - Nicomachean Ethics book 6
Below are some questions about Aristotle's text, its main ideas, and their applications within the context of your own experience. You may find these useful starting points for your own reflections about the material you are studying. You might also decide to use these as grounds for conversation with other people, whether here in our discussion forums or in other contexts in which you engage with other people.
1) Is Aristotle's Account of Intellectual Virtues Plausible?
After reading through book 6, do you find Aristotle's account of the intellectual virtues a plausible one? Does it strike you as an adequate and accurate treatment of different "excellences" involving some sort of truth or knowledge?
2) The Intellectual Virtues
What is the point or the purpose of the intellectual virtues? Why does a person need them - or does any given person actually need them? Which of the intellectual virtues would you say you are most interested in developing (further), and why? What, in your view, would this require of you, and what resources do you have available to assist in that project?
3) Does a Person Really Need Prudence?
If a person is to enjoy a life oriented by Aristotle's conception of happiness, does that person need prudence? Why do they need it? What role does prudence perform?
4) Can "Science" Address Everything?
If Aristotle's distinctions between different intellectual virtues is basically correct, what would be the implications for the notion that we human beings could rely upon the "sciences" or "science" (usually by this, people mean the natural sciences, the social sciences, mathematics, and engineering) to resolve or to understand all human problems?
5) The Unity of the Virtues
What is your view on the issue of the "unity of the virtues"? Do you think it is possible for a person to possess all of the virtues? Does a person have to possess all of the virtues in order to be rightly considered "virtuous"? Is there one virtue that somehow unites or encompasses the rest of the virtues, in your view, as there is for Aristotle? If so, what would that virtue be?