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The Ethics of Aristotle

Get answers on a wide range of ethical issues from one of histories greatest minds—Aristotle—in this excellent course that tackles such timeless topics as happiness, moral excellence, and more.
Ethics of Aristotle is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 81.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Hellenistic of an idea Koterski gives an excellent summery of Aristotle's classic book on ethics, showing how some ideas are eternally significant. One of the best "pre-Christian" moralists, with something intriguing to say about a number of topics. Recommended for anyone who thinks that "dead white guys" don't have anything important to offer.
Date published: 2021-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course Father Koterski uses time very efficiently. He packs a lot of material into each lecture, is very clear in his presentation and organizes his material logically. Importantly, he makes Aristotle very relevant to our age.
Date published: 2021-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Lecturer I thoroughly enjoyed the course and consider Father Koterski an outstanding teacher. The content of the course was excellent and its delivery was superior. This is one of those courses that I'm sure I'll revisit specific lectures from time to time. I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2020-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Christian Aristotelianism A lovely course. Father Koterski knows his material well and delivers it with humanity and clarity. His understanding of Aristotle is informed by Christian ethicists (such as St. Aquinas) who appropriated and built on Aristotle's thought. In some cases, the effect is to somewhat discolour the pagan and heroic Greek worldview in favour of the more familiar Christian one. For example, in his presentation of the moral virtues, the virtuous (moderate) disposition is shown as compatible with the purpose built in to the human being by a loving Creator. The existence of natural purpose in a living, animistic universe is downplayed, along with the heroic dimension of virtue as excellence, the full and splendid realization of the potential inherent in the human species.
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ethics of Aristotle Ethics of Aristotle surprised me in its clarity of presentation. If you have any interest in the philosophy of life, get it!
Date published: 2019-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Introduction to Aristotle's Ethics In college I had taken a required course called Introduction to Philosophy and it was taught by one of the most boring professors I had ever had in my college career. As a result of his monotone voice and boring lectures, I was completely uninterested in the subject material, which included Aristotle. Recently, I've been studying Stoicism and wondered how it compared to Aristotle's philosophy and decided to purchase this course. To my surprise, the professor did the work for me and compared Aristotle's ethics to the Stoics themselves! I would recommend this course to anyone who has ever been curious about Aristotle, his ethics, or Western philosophy in general. However, if you are not curious or not a philosopher, you may find this course to be a bit dry.
Date published: 2018-12-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well written course and easy to follow. Enjoyed the simplicity of the language used, which allowed a novice like me to follow.
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ancient Wisdom that Applies to our Daily Lives! As a speaker to CPAs and attorneys on the subject of professional and personal ethics, this course title intrigued me. After listening to the course, I gained infinitely more material for future presentations. Further, I appreciated the cites of quotes that fully explained a statement given by Aristotle. The ethics of humans today is derived from centuries ago. However, mankind's dilemmas are not too different from those faced by our ancestors. This course is an excellent reference tool and the coursebook a resource I have almost worn out. If you are seeking a baseline, explanation and the creation of corrective actions in your personal life, this course is a great start. The professor is an obvious expert and can take an abstract subject and apply it in practical ways.
Date published: 2018-03-26
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Happiness. Moral excellence. For more than 2,000 years, thoughtful people have turned to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics to learn how to teach and attain these and other profound concepts. In The Ethics of Aristotle, a meditation on the ancient Greek philosopher and one of his paramount texts, Professor Joseph W. Koterski shows you how and why this work can help deepen and improve your own thinking on questions of morality and living a "good" life. The aim of this course is to provide you with a clear and thoughtful introduction to Aristotle as a moral philosopher, and to suggest ways in which this ancient thinker still speaks to the deepest concerns of our own era.


Joseph Koterski, S.J.

As a Jesuit priest, I think there is something from this tradition that I can bring to bear, that will be of great interest to those who share my convictions, those who do not, and to those who are interested and searching.


St. Louis University
A member of the Society of Jesus, Father Joseph Koterski is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, where he specializes in the history of medieval philosophy and natural law ethics. Before taking his position at Fordham University, Father Koterski taught at the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He earned his doctorate in Philosophy from St. Louis University, after receiving an H.A.B. in Classics from Xavier University. As a priest ordained in 1992, Father Koterski brings an added dimension of insight to his study of theology and biblical texts. He earned his Master of Divinity and License of Sacred Theology from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Father Koterski is a veteran Great Courses instructor and a respected teacher and scholar. At Fordham, he has been recognized for his teaching skills and was awarded the Dean's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and the Graduate Teacher of the Year Award. He serves as the editor-in-chief of the International Philosophical Quarterly and is coeditor of the Fordham University Press Series in Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology.

By This Professor

The Philosopher of Common Sense

01: The Philosopher of Common Sense

How does Aristotle go about building his theory of human moral activity? Why does he place virtue or excellence at the core, and what does he mean by virtue anyway? How does his work compare with other important approaches to ethics, such as Kant's?

33 min
What Is the Purpose of Life?

02: What Is the Purpose of Life?

How do Aristotle's thoughts about happiness and virtue fit into his larger philosophy? What does he mean by calling us "rational animals"? And why does he argue that ethics is part of a larger project, called politics, without which full human flourishing is impossible?

30 min
What Is Moral Excellence?

03: What Is Moral Excellence?

Where does virtue come from? Can you acquire it? Are some people born to it? How can you know it when you see it? What are the implications of Aristotle's definition of virtue as a mean between extremes?

31 min
Courage and Moderation

04: Courage and Moderation

Although Aristotle has no explicit concept of "freedom," his treatment in Book III of voluntary consent, knowledge, and moral responsibility is a landmark in the history of ethical thought. Here you trace its immediate application to two of the "cardinal" moral virtues.

30 min
The Social Virtues

05: The Social Virtues

Are the virtues that Aristotle describes as crucial to life in society still normative, or are they peculiar to his own society? Attending to how he makes distinctions and argues his case will help you assess this issue, and deepen your appreciation of the entire work.

31 min
Types of Justice

06: Types of Justice

Is justice a simple unity, or does it have several kinds? How can Aristotle describe virtues as relative without being a relativist? What are the implications of his influential distinction between natural and legal justice?

31 min
The Intellectual Virtues

07: The Intellectual Virtues

What are the excellences of mind proper to humans? Why does the very idea of ethics imply that there must be such virtues? What roles do art and science—conceived as habits of mind—play in a well-lived life?

31 min
Struggling to Do Right

08: Struggling to Do Right

Socrates held—perhaps ironically—that knowledge and virtue are the same. What does Aristotle think of that idea? How does he deal with the relation between knowing what is right and doing what is right?

30 min
Friendship and the Right Life

09: Friendship and the Right Life

What are the different types of friendships? What are the motivations and expectations—appropriate and inappropriate—that tend to go with each?

31 min
What Is Friendship?

10: What Is Friendship?

In Book XI you find Aristotle at his most practical, offering advice on topics such as whether to break off a friendship, on the limits to the number of friends you can have, and on the link between friendship and virtue.

31 min
Pleasure and the Right Life

11: Pleasure and the Right Life

Is being pleasant what makes something good? Is pleasure the same as happiness? How does Aristotle support his own view of the relationship between pleasure, virtue, and happiness?

31 min
Attaining True Happiness

12: Attaining True Happiness

Learn how Aristotle brings his argument about happiness and virtuous activity full circle at the end of the "Ethics," and then suggests that ethics points beyond itself toward the topics of two of his other works, the "Politics" and the "Metaphysics."

31 min