Warning to Regular Readers-- the following blog entry will be used for a discussion of Book X in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. Students have been invited to discuss these questions. You may join the discussion if you wish!
1. What does Aristotle mean by contemplation?
2. According to Aristotle, what is the relationship between contemplation and happiness?
3. What does he mean by leisure?
4. In his view, what is the connection between leisure and contemplation?... and so leisure and happiness?
5. Reflect on your answer to question 4... If Aristotle is correct, is contemplation open to everyone? What type of life must you possess in order to contemplate?
Bonus question based on the discussion in last class:
The Shared Inquiry approach used in the Lasallian Honors Program is based on 3 levels of questions: (1) factual, (2) interpretative, and (3) evaluative. (Read the handout I gave out earlier in the semester for more details) Before you deal with higher level questions, you must understand a problem at the lower levels. So, for example, you cannot criticize an idea in a "knee-jerk" fashion" until you understand the idea factually, and interpretively.
One way to understand an idea or theory is to intellectually "play" with it before moving toward critique. Personally, I do thought-experiments. I "pretend" I'm the theorist who created the idea (whether I like his/her ideas or not) and ask myself how might s/he answer possible criticisms before I ever dismiss them. (As a wise professor once said to me, "If you can easily dismiss a theory held by reasonably intelligent, honest, and careful thinkers then you either (1) don't understand the theory or (2) have an axe to grind.)
With this in mind, I want you to go back to the hypothesis that pheromones are the basis of friendship and social bonds in human communities. First, consider what happens in a beehive when the queen's pheromones disappear with her death. The bees in the hive grow lethargic, and become louder. Normal work does not always get done, and the hive might might eventually die. As a response, the bees try to raise a new queen in order to replace the old dead queen and her pheromones, unless the beekeeper successfully introduces a new queen first. (A modern beekeeper may buy a queen from a breeder online!)
Now I want you to "pretend" you believe that pheromones play a large part in human interaction as well .
6. How might online dating be totally compatible with a pheromonal theory of friendship bonds?
Happy Thanksgiving all!