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Dr. Christopher Shields, Chair, Philosophy Faculty Board, Professor of Classical Philosophy and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford


"Fractured Goodness: the Summum Bonum in Aristotle "

Aristotle criticizes Plato’s Form of the Good by insisting that goodness is not ‘something common, universal, and one’ (κοινόν τι καθόλου καὶ ἕν; EN 1096a28).  Still, he is happy to insist in his own right that there is some  ‘highest (or best) good’ (τγαθν κα τὸ ἄριστον; EN 1094a17-21), namely, eudaimonia, under which all subordinate human goods are ordered.  Indeed, he insists that if there were no such overarching good, all action would ultimately be in vain.  Although perfectly consistent with one another, these remarks do introduce a genuine tension into Aristotle’s approach to the commensurability of good things—a tension whose exploration points toward some further difficulties in his metaphysics of goodness. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

3:30 p.m.

Cathedral of Learning Room 244A



Aristotle's Bust







CPAS READING GROUP Meeting  for Fall Semester will be announced



Detail of the School of Athens by Michaelangelo



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Selected Publications

cover of Being Nature, and Life In Aristotle by James Lennox

Being, Nature, and Life In Aristotle

by James G. Lennox (Editor), Robert Bolton (Editor)

This volume of essays explores major connected themes in Aristotle's metaphysics, philosophy of nature, and ethics, especially themes related to essence, definition, teleology, activity, potentiality, and the highest good. The volume is united by the belief that all aspects of Aristotle's work need to be studied together if any one of the areas of thought is to be fully understood. Many of the papers were contributions to a conference at the University of Pittsburgh entitled 'Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle', to honor Professor Allan Gotthelf's many contributions to the field of ancient philosophy; a few are contributions from those who were invited but could not attend. The contributors, all longstanding friends of Professor Gotthelf, are among the most accomplished scholars in the field of ancient philosophy today.



Book cover, Inference from Signs

Inference from Signs: Ancient Debates about the Nature of Evidence

By James Allen

Original and penetrating, this book investigates of the notion of inference from signs, which played a central role in ancient philosophical and scientific method. It examines an important chapter in ancient epistemology: the debates about the nature of evidence and of the inferences based on it—or signs and sign-inferences as they were called in antiquity. Read more.

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Program Application

  • Students do not apply directly to the CPAS Program
  • Instead, students should apply to one of the cooperating departments (Classics, HPS, or Philosophy) and indicate their interest in the program on their application
  • Requirements: BA in Classics or equivalent