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Wednesday May 29th 2019Tim Candler9

 

    Aristotle's father was called Nichomachus and his son was called Nichomachus. Nichomacean Ethics is a book, a very long book, that stands as the foundation for understanding Aristotelian Ethics which in turn is the foundation for philosophical thinking about ethics all the way down through the Middle Ages to what ever may or may not be occurring in philosophy departments around ethics today. Ethics are moral principles around which a good society might be built, and in the end morals are an individual's decisions about whether this or that behavior is acceptable. Two areas here, one is called arete and the other is called eudaemonia. Arete has to do with living up to one's full potential as an individual, a sense of direction, discipline, balance, capacity to comprehend complexity and so on. Eudaemonia is the more social idea of human flourishing and an entire society living up to it's full potential. There's a vibrant interacting non-static relationship between these two areas, which when it works, the theory goes, results in functioning successful society uncharacterized by incessant outbreaks of rampant neurosis, or anomie or whatever you want to call it.

 

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   Worth remembering that Aristotle died around 2350 years ago, he was 62 when he died, yet not much has changed. Either way you can kind of understand why those engaged in management studies have generally concluded that while there's not much difference between a psychopath roaming the corridors of head office and successful corporate officer, a genuine died in the wool psychopath is in the longer run more trouble than he or she is worth because a psychopath living up to his full potential does wreak havoc on the eudaemonia of something like, let's call it General Motors. Personally I always thought and still rather do think that the "I feel your pain" President was a bit of a psychopath, fairly convinced that the former presidential candidate and current Senator from Utah is a bit of a psychopath, one of the current senators from Kentucky is right there and and I could go on to include, a very suspect Senator from South Carolina who could also be struggling with a personality disorder known as the Chameleon Effect but the list would get rather long very quickly, and we'd all get terrible depressed about our prospects for a blessed eudaemonia anytime soon.

  

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